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Colombian Bulgur Wheat & Pork Spine Soup (Cuchuco de Trigo Con Espinazo)

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  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, Pork, Soups
  • Cuisine: Colombian


  • 10 cups (about liters) water
  • ½ cup (25 g) cilantro, whole
  • 2 green onions, stalks only
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • lb of pork spine with meat or a combination of pork neck bones and pork shoulder (I use about 23 neck bones)
  • ½ cup (4 oz) bulgur wheat
  • 34 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup (75 g or 4 oz) diced carrots
  • ½ cup (75 g or 4 oz) sweet peas (I use frozen)
  • ½ cup (75 g or 4 oz) fava beans (you can also use lima beans, edamame or butter beans) (I use canned)
  • 7 small creole potatoes or yellow potatoes, whole and unpeeled
  • 4 green cabbage leaves cut into thin strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fill a large pot with the water. Add the pork bones, pork meat, cilantro, green onions and garlic. Bring it to a boil on high heat, then lower it to low-medium low and cook for about 35-45 minutes or until the meat is tender. Optional: Place the cilantro, green onion and garlic inside a cheesecloth. Tie all four corners together to make a bundle. This will make it easier to remove the cilantro, onion and garlic from the soup.
  2. Remove the cilantro, green onions and garlic. Add the bulgur wheat and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the red potatoes, carrots, peas and fava beans and cook until the soup thickens which can take about 15-20 minutes. Tip: I have been adding one whole red potato grated to the soup to add thickness and it has worked really well.
  4. Now add the creole potatoes or yellow potatoes, the strips of cabbage and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 20 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Remove all pork from the pot and shred the pork meat. Serve the soup with a handful of shredded pork on top.