April 03, 2010

Sancocho - Chicken Soup.

     Sancocho is a typical Panamanian chicken soup seasoned with yams, onions, cilantro, oregano, garlic, pepper, and salt. Its origin is in the Azuero Peninsula, to be precise in Los Santos Province. There are other ways depending on the region of the country where it is prepared. In some places other ingredients such as corn, squash, cassava and “otoe” are added . You can also find beef soup (Chiriquí Province) or fish soup (Colon Province).
     The soup is one of the most representative dishes of the Panamanian cuisine, and it is usually accompanied with a bowl of white rice. It's the dish that can not be missed on the restaurant menu in the country, and its low cost and taste is one of mayor demand.
     This revitalizing soup can be taken at lunch, at dinner after a hard day at work, and after a carousal to recover energy. In many country parties the soup is served between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. for those who want to replenish their energies.
     Top “sancochos” are slowly being cooked first to smooth chicken meat, and afterwards so that the yam is tender and so it disolves, making the soup acquire a thick consistency.
     In the Interior, it is prepared in a large pot and stove with wood, giving the soup a smoky special taste. This type of Sancocho can be found in “fondas” (small restaurants) in the Interior during festivals, regional fairs and during Carnival.

     The soup has healing properties, it contains nutrients and vitamins, which can help to reduce cold symptoms. People make the soup when they have flu, an upset stomach or after a long night of alcohol consumption.
     On August 16th, 2003 and to celebrate the Centenary of the Republic, the world's largest Sancocho, called "The Centennial Sancocho” was made.
     To do this we had to compile a special stainless steel pot with its respective lid, as well as designing the stove (burners), how to hold it, the instruments of server and mix , using for the latter wooden oars, all which was a Guinness Record.

     The preparation of the Centennial Sancocho began at 5:30 am and ended at 11:00 a.m. People immediately proceeded to serve the soup in cups. The cost of each cup was $ 0.25, and the funds raised were donated to Hospital del Niño (Children’s Hospital), a public hospital.
     Some important Guinness Record data:
Pot size: 2.00 meters high and 3.00 meters in diameter.
Chicken and yam Quantity: 3.0 tons (3,000.00 kg.).
Onion Quantity: 1500.00 pounds (680.38 kg.).
Garlic Quantity: 80.00 pounds (36.28 kg.).
Cilantro Quantity: 60.00 pounds (27.21 kg.).
Oregano Quantity: 10.00 pounds (4.53 kg.).
Pepper Quantity: 5.00 pounds (2.26 kg.).
Salt Quantity: 80.00 pounds (36.28 kg.).
Water volume: 2033.00 gallons (9,148.50 liters).
Heat of the burners Gas: BTU 4,000.000.00.
Number of cups served: 21,365.00 dishes approximately of 12 ounces each.
Cost per cup: $ 0.25.
Number of Volunteers: over 300.