Cuchuco de Cebada (Colombian-Barley and Pork Soup)

by Erica Dinho on January 6, 2011

This post is also available in Spanish

Cuchuco de Cebada

Cuchuco is a classic Colombian soup from the center of the country. It is a thick soup made with corn, wheat or barley, and different vegetables like peas, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, pork and herbs. It is usually served with avocado, ají and salad on the side. It is the perfect comfort soup for a cold winter day!

I garnished my Cuchuco de Cebada with extra shredded cabbage, tomatoes and avocado and it was delicious.

Buen provecho!



(4 servings)

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork ribs or pork bones
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soaked barley
  • 2 yellow medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sazon goya with achiote
  • 1 beef bouillon tablet
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Place the onion, garlic, scallions, red bell pepper in the food processor.
  2. Place a pot over medium-high heat. Add the water, beef bouillon, barley and pork ribs, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion mixture salt and pepper and let it simmer for 50 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, cabbage, peas, carrots, Sazon Goya and ground cumin, cover and cook for 25 minutes more or until the pork is cooked.
  4. Add the cilantro and serve.
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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog January 6, 2011 at 8:27 AM

I’ll bookmark this creamy recipe for the cold days of winter – sounds excellent :)

Have an Excellent 2011! :)



2 Belinda @zomppa January 6, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Love how hearty this is! The beans…the pork ribs. Would like it on this chilly day!


3 Tangled Noodle January 6, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Happy New Year, Erica!

This looks so delicious! I brought a bag of barley with me to the Philippines, thinking I would make simple beef and barley soup. But now it will be put to much better use in cuchuco de cebada! 8-)


4 Katie January 6, 2011 at 12:48 PM

This looks nummy and I have some sazon goya with achiote in the pantry I’ve been looking to use up!

Just so I understand the recipe right, in step one do you process the veggies to a pulp/paste?


5 Erica January 6, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Katie- Yes!


6 A Canadian Foodie January 6, 2011 at 1:48 PM

This sounds DIVINE and healthy! What does sazon goya with achiote taste like? What kind of seasoning is it… a hot pepper, a blend of seasonings? We have a Mexican store here, and can access almost anything in the world in our city – but not everything… like the aji. So, if I cannot find it, wanted to have an idea what might work.


7 Joan Nova January 6, 2011 at 5:48 PM

A meal in a bowl and even though it’s thick and hearty, I love the you lightened it up with fresh avocado and shredded cabbage on top. Gives it a bit of freshness as you spoon soup.


8 5 Star Foodie January 6, 2011 at 9:24 PM

This sounds like a hearty , warming and healthy soup with barley & veggies! excellent!


9 Marino Munoz January 7, 2011 at 7:55 AM

Hola Ericca saludos. todas las formulas de nuestra cocina….. con much orgullo Marino


10 Oceanbeat January 7, 2011 at 11:07 AM

@ a canadian foodie…I live in Canada too, “Montreal” and I find Sazon Goya or the colombia version “TRIGUISAR” even at my local grocery store. Basically it is a mix of cumin, achiote or turmeric for coloring, garlic powder and pepper. You can make your own mixing equal parts of cumin and achiote, annato or turmeric and half of garlic and 1/4 of ground pepper.


11 norma January 7, 2011 at 11:33 AM

I wish we were neighbors….this is excellent for a day like today…

Have a great weekend.


12 rebecca subbiah January 7, 2011 at 4:38 PM

lovely soup, and the addition of addition of avocado :-)

always adore your blog Erica tell folks about it all the time



13 Anna January 7, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Hi Erica, Happy New Year for you and your family. As usual you make me crave something, this soup looks lovely and the avocado on top it’s such a nice touch. Loved it. Have a great weekend.


14 grace January 8, 2011 at 2:24 AM

barley, peas, cilantro, huzzah! what a great soup, made even better with the flavor infused by those bones. nice.


15 tasteofbeirut January 8, 2011 at 9:41 AM

The soup caught my eye because I love avocados and any excuse is good to eat some, which this soup provides me with one! hearty and delicious, what is the wait? I will make it , definitely, one of these days/


16 Heather B January 8, 2011 at 11:47 AM

It looks great, but my husband doesnt care for pork too much. I was thinking to replace the pork with beef (his preference). It should still be good, I hope! Thanks for sharing!


17 Kim January 9, 2011 at 12:46 AM

Erica- This is such a pretty and inviting soup, Erica.

Do you ever have trouble with your pork bones splintering into the soup? I tried working with pork bones once and there were little pieces of bone in my sauce.


18 Erica January 9, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Kim- What kind of bones did you use? I usually use pork ribs or neck bones!


19 ruth January 9, 2011 at 6:41 AM

That looks like proper comfort food! the addition of the advocado is really teasing my tastebus, hmmm!


20 Chef E January 9, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Erica I have never had this, but would so love to try it! I love soups..


21 Oysterculture January 9, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Erica, you’ve done it again with another delicious recipe. Seriously when are you going to write a cookbook. This soup looks tasty filing and nutritious – what more could you want.


22 Maria January 10, 2011 at 12:48 PM

A wonderful traditional soup! So many great ingredients. And I love how you’ve garnished it.


23 Erica January 24, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Thank you guys for the comments!


24 Rosanna February 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Erica, I have to tell you that finding your web page was a blessing to me! I first want to thank you for putting it together. My mother was Colombian from Cali, unfortunatly she passed away 14 years ago and besides taking my heart she also took all her wonderful recipes with her. I, although colombian at heart, was born in california and have no colombian family but one cousin in california who rarely shares her recipes with me. Thats why finding your site is great for me. I can now once again enjoy cooking and eating many of my mothers foods that Ive missed having these 14 years. Also, Iam able to introduce to my daughters many of the other colombian foods besides the ones i did know how to ake already, plus also teach them how to make them as i myself learn. Thank you once again, sometimes i feel so alone and it feels so good to find another Colombian in America!


25 Monica October 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Im sorry to bother you..but as I read your post for a minute I thought I wrote mother was from Cali and died when I was 16..20 years ago,.I did not take the time to learn her recipes..and all I mean all ..but my brother is in Colombia..I love this site and it has awakened me to show my family some of my culture in my cooking..and to prepare them for our trip to cali in the summer..God bless honey


26 Erica October 19, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Thank you so much!


27 Clara February 16, 2012 at 1:43 PM

This is my favorite Colombian soup.


28 Monica October 19, 2012 at 4:38 PM

I finally made this last night..Im Colombian and my husband is Puerto Rican..he kept saying how to him pork and soup just dont go…ok..guess who had 2 huge bowls and kept asking for more meat…yup…this is out of this world..the avocado in it to a huge difference..loved it..great job Erica..


29 Oliva July 8, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Delicious soup! I really like barley. And with the cabbage tastes even better!


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