Growing up in a Cuban family means you’re enjoying hearty meals all year long. Meals like Carne con Papas (Cuban Beef Stew) and Rabo Encendido (Cuban Oxtail Stew) were always on rotation.
This Ajiaco Cubano was no exception.
Ajiaco Cubano is a hearty and comforting soup that is a staple in Cuban cuisine. Made with a flavorful combination of chicken, beef, pork, corn, and root vegetables like malanga, yuca, boñiato, plantains, and calabaza (squash) along with fragrant spices, this soup is a beloved comfort food that is perfect for any day of the week.
This Cuban stew is typically served with a side of white rice, sliced avocado, and/or lime wedges. It’s the perfect dish for a chilly winter evening, but also works well in the summer when you want something light and refreshing.
With its vibrant colors, complex flavors, and variety of textures, this soup is sure to become a favorite in your recipe rotation.
Let me show you how to make a classic Ajiaco Cubano that’s packed with flavor and easy to prepare at home.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Delicious, hearty soup. Ajiaco Cubano is a comforting and filling soup that’s made with hearty root vegetables and different types of meats, making it the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold winter day and is sure to leave you feeling satisfied and nourished.
- A great way to explore Cuban cuisine. Ajiaco Cubano is a traditional dish from Cuba, and making it at home is a great way to explore and experience the flavors and culture of this vibrant country.
- Versatile recipe. From different root vegetables to different meats, you can mix and match the ingredients based on what’s available to you or what you have at hand.
When you’re done with this recipe, make my Crema de Malanga (Creamy Malanga Soup)!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Every Cuban recipe starts with a delicious Cuban sofrito. This is the sofrito for the ajiaco.
- Green bell peppers
- Tomato sauce
- Cumin, salt + pepper
These meats are for this recipe. You can pick and choose which ones to add or use them all.
- Pork shoulder
- Flank steak
- Chicken thighs
These are the root vegetables for this ajiaco. You can pick and choose which ones to add based on what’s available or what you prefer.
- Boniato (white sweet potato – it has white flesh)
- Yuca (cassava root)
- Malanga (taro root)
- Butternut squash
- Green plantains and ripe plantains
If you have leftover yuca from this recipe, why not make Yuca Chips (Cassava Chips)!?
- Make the sofrito. In a large pot, heat olive oil at medium heat. Saute onions, green bell peppers, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper for 5 minutes until softened.
- Cook the meats. Season all the meats with salt. Add them to the pot with enough water to cover them, about 10 cups. Simmer on medium-low for 1 hour until all the meats are tender.
- Remove the meats from the pot with a slotted spoon and skim any fat off the top of the broth.
- Start cooking root vegetables. Peel and cut the boniato, yuca, malanga, and squash into 1-inch cubes. Add them to the pot with broth and stir in the tomato sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes at medium-high heat.
- Cook the rest of the vegetables. After 15 minutes, add in the corn, plantains, and fresh lime juice. Cover and cook at medium-high for 20-25 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
- Add the meat back in and gently stir to combine everything together. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Serve with lime wedges.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven
I use a 6-quart Dutch Oven often when I’m making soups and stews and even when I’m cooking other recipes that require long hours of cooking.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. This will add extra flavor and richness to the soup. You can remove the skin before serving if desired.
- Use fresh ingredients. The key to a good Ajiaco Cubano is using fresh, high-quality ingredients. Look for fresh root vegetables at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.
- Don’t overcook the vegetables. It’s important to cook the vegetables until they’re tender, but not so long that they turn mushy. Keep an eye on the pot and remove the vegetables when they’re cooked and tender.
- Make it ahead of time. Ajiaco Cubano tastes even better the next day, so consider making a big batch and reheating it for a cozy meal later in the week. Serve with white rice!
When you’re done making this recipe, make one of my other hearty Cuban stew recipes!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container. To keep your ajiaco fresh and prevent it from drying out, store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Freeze for long-term storage. If you want to store the ajiaco for longer than a few days, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Just be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- To reheat, gently warm it in a pot over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl, covering it with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters.
Ajiaco Cubano (Cuban Country-Style Stew)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 lb flank steak cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 boneless chicken thighs
- 1 medium boniato (white sweet potato – it has white flesh)
- 1 medium yuca (cassava root)
- 1 medium malanga (taro root)
- 1 cup chopped butternut squash
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 ears fresh sweet corn husked and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large green plantain
- 1 large ripe plantain (light green or yellow-ish skin, sometimes with black spots)
- Fresh lime juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat olive oil at medium heat. Saute onions, green bell peppers, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper for 5 minutes until softened.
- Season all the meats with salt. Add them to the pot with enough water to cover them, about 10 cups. Simmer on medium-low for 1 hour until all the meats are tender. Remove the meats from the pot with a slotted spoon and skim any fat off the top of the broth.
- Peel and cut the boniato, yuca, malanga, and squash into 1-inch cubes. Add them to the pot with broth and stir in the tomato sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes at medium-high heat.
- After 15 minutes, add in the corn, plantains and fresh lime juice. Cover and cook at medium-high for 20-25 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the meat back in and gently stir to combine everything together. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
Jeanette Alfonso says
This recipe turned out beautifully! Everyone loved the flavor of the broth, very hearty. My mom used to make this for me it was wonderful to have the smell of her cooking in the house again. Thank you for the authentic recipe. It’s so disappointing to look over other “authentic “ Cuban recipes from other sites only to find they added or changed what it should be. Your blog is authentic and I love the recipes. Thanks so much 💙
Jamie Silva says
This comment made my day! Thank you so much, Jeanette, so happy you enjoyed it! :)
Caridad Mercado says
thank you for reminding me of my mom & dads cooking growing up in Cuba
every time I see one of your new post I say “Oh I remember my dad use to make that” So again…. Gracias
Jamie Silva says
De nada, Caridad! Thank you for your sweet comment!