Spanish Cocido

Cocido, Spain, useful products, the national dish, cuisine, light meals, soup, chickpeas

Spanish Cocido

Fresh vegetables and herbs, fish and seafood on the grill, olive oil, garlic and herbs, cheeses and light fruit desserts, yogurt, a little wine, nuts and honey … This is my favorite food, but stick to such a diet is not always possible, and, arrived in Spain, Italy or the south of France, it is possible to eat this way. Mediterranean cuisine – easy, useful and delicious!

But in general, Mediterranean cuisine – the notion of collective and ambiguous, because the warm water of the sea washes the shores of the different countries of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Each of the kitchens of the region has its own characteristics, caused by cultural, historical and religious traditions. And not all the dishes beloved by the residents of the Mediterranean countries, fit into a useful picture that I drew.

And some – so simple can cause fainting impressionable nutritionist … These high-calorie “peasant” dishes trace their history since ancient times, when people engaged in heavy physical labor, and, despite the lack of real cold, sought hearty meal.
Times have changed, but the tradition remained. And until now, the inhabitants of the same in Spain or France from time to time (not too often!) Can afford to eat “nedieticheskimi” dishes. One such traditional dishes with a rich history and I want to tell.

So I present to you a traditional Spanish Cocido.

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The most famous dish of Spanish cuisine – of course, paella. But the Spaniards value their Cocido no less, it is especially popular in the north and in Madrid. Among the tourists this dish is not so well known – perhaps because it is considered “winter”, and it is rarely prepared in the resorts? Or the Spaniards did not want to share with the world all the culinary secrets, keeping something “for their”?

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I have long tried to define in one word, what is the Cocido. Soup? Stew? Or a dinner? But the word does not seem to work … When translated from Spanish, the “Cocido” – is something like a “brew”. It is, Cocido – a lot of different meat, lots of vegetables and spices, rich broth and – necessarily – legumes. And very original way of feeding. But more on that later, but for now a bit of history.

Cocido have a lot of relatives in different countries (rare people in ancient times not think of stew meat with vegetables in a pot!) And their ancestors in Spain. It is believed that the prototype of the Jews invented Cocido, preparing a full hearty meal before Shabbat. Of course, the Jewish version did not allow pork, only later it began to put the Jews who have converted to Christianity – specifically, to prove their commitment to the new faith. Thus was born the ancient olla podrida, which still Cervantes wrote.

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“But there, far away, it is a large platter, and from the steam knocks – it seems to me that this olla podrida, and olyu podridu put a lot of different things, and I’m right too, find myself there something tasty and healthy “- he used to say, Sancho Panza, who, as you may remember, was a great lover of good food.

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G. Dore. Illustration to “Don Quixote”


In those days olla podrida food was poor. We prepared a hearty meal for a few days, and it was enough for a large family. Even in the middle of the XX century Cocido ate peasants, workers in the factories and the students. At a time when traditions were revived, and Cocido became popular among the general population, the price for it in restaurants went up sharply.

How many dishes with history, from Cocido – a direct descendant of olla podrida – there is no single recipe. In each region, his country is prepared a little differently, and every Spanish housewife has a secret that makes a Cocido in “the most Cocido”. But the essence of a dish.

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First you need to boil the broth, which take up to 8 types of meat products – be it beef, lamb, pork, smoked ham, chicken (all – with bones), sausages and even something like meatballs. All meats are not necessarily putting, but not 3-4 can not do nothing. As you might guess, the broth is obtained is very thick and heavy. About the amount of cholesterol is terrible even to think – but we were there with our aspic, to condemn the Spaniards?

Then in the resulting broth is cooked pre-soaked beans or chickpeas and various vegetables. Required onions, garlic, carrots and cabbage. In Madrid will certainly put the potatoes in the Basque Country – spinach and hard-boiled eggs, in Galicia – leaf beet and celery … Someone adds a turnip, green beans, squash and corn – options with a lot of vegetables as a seasoning. Basic cooking in proper Cocido – keep time favorites each ingredient, because meat should be the softest and tender peas – do not turn into a puree and vegetables – to keep the taste and consistency. Cook Cocido (stew or?) On a very low heat in a thick-walled bowl – requires a clay classics, but now “allowed” to depart from tradition and use the metal.

As you certainly understand Cocido does not belong to the dishes quickly. You’re not going to contrive pie or soup with donuts when guests already removed the coat in the hallway? So with the Cocido. His plan ahead, inviting guests for a week or two before the planned lunch. That lunch! Cocido eat day to hurry and have time to digest the rich dish to night. As a rule, Cocido collect relatives or close friends – this dish is not suitable for special occasions. It requires a friendly atmosphere and intimate conversation “without ties” … Do not you think that in this we are like the Spaniards? The Spaniards call their Cocido “dish for cool evenings and warm company.” By the way, every guest is invited to Cocido, by tradition should take with a bottle of red wine, which is made to wash down the meal.

Submission Cocido also promotes unity. In general, it is a ritual that requires a separate discussion. First served fresh herbs, olives, hot peppers and pickled vegetables – appetite. Then the same soup appears on the table, from which fished all the components, but tucked fine noodles – fideuà (as an option – rice). To it relies bread from wheat flour. When diners have coped with the soup, bring a huge bowl with vegetables and legumes, and each imposes itself that wish. And just as the culmination of the table appears aromatic meat.

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However, in one of the villages of Castile do the opposite – first eat meat, then vegetables, “for dessert” – soup! Astorga Residents claim that such a method of supplying the most correct – after a hearty meal should be “calm down” stomach soup. Something I doubt, another explanation seems more reasonable – if the consumer does not have the strength for all the abundance, then it is better to let a half-eaten soup left.

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The restaurant Cocido made to order in advance, pre-call. By the way, in the “right” restaurant it will not cook for one and even two – nothing can be done, traditions … And to find the “right” restaurant is not easy – in the tourist areas, where lunch on the run, Cocido simply not prepared. And if they are prepared, then it is not Cocido. It is better to address to the good gastronomic guide, such as Madrid or ask local – so reliable! Often in a good restaurant, oriented Cocido, tables can be booked for a few days off to come.

Now the main thing – to stock up a good appetite (long walks in the fresh air to help us), 2-3 hours of time and good humor. And unwillingness to count calories – one a time as possible?

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And, you can try to cook a Spanish dish at home – best frosty winter day, a big company.

I offer you classic recipe Cocido most famous – like Cocido Madrileño, which means “in Madrid.” Recipe adapted – however, include the imagination is not forbidden!

For 6 servings Cocido, we need:

0.5 kg chickpeas
0.5 kg of beef with bone
0.5 kg of smoked ham with bone (in the original – jamon, but it will fit a small shank)
250-300 g bacon
half of the average chicken (better to take the soup)
250-300 g spicy smoked (for Spanish chorizo is just but another fit – checked!) and black pudding (the latter – optional)
half head of cabbage
5-6 medium potatoes
2 onions
1 head of garlic
2 carrots
salt, black pepper, paprika, bay leaf and other spices – to taste
small noodles to fill the broth
some olive oil
If you are scared amount of ingredients, I hasten to comfort: actually cook Cocido is not too difficult. You do not have to spend all the time in the kitchen – let itself being cooked over low heat. Getting Started?

Chickpeas soaked overnight in hot salted water. In the morning we take the pan with a thick, pour 3-3.5 liters of water and cook the broth of all meat ingredients, except sausages. If the chicken is not soup, it is also better to put back later. After boiling, the broth can be drained – so you get rid of excess salt and fat from the sausages. Fill with water again and boil the meat for about an hour at the small fire, while removing the foam from time to time. If you want to get rid of the fat as possible (I do so), the broth can be cooked the day before, cool and remove fat.

Then add the chickpeas (better to put it in a gauze bag) and cook for another 1.5 hours. Coarsely chopped onion fried in olive oil, not too finely shredded cabbage pripuskayut with paprika and garlic. Pour into a saucepan, add the potatoes, carrots, sausages (cut can be large or medium), salt and spices and cook until vegetables readiness – about half an hour.

Ready Cocido be divided. Broth merge and filter – in it we brewed thin vermicelli. Chickpeas take out of the bag and beautifully laid out on a platter with the vegetables. In another dish lay out the meat and sausages (from the bones of everyone will be able to separate the meat itself – in fact it should have a very soft and gentle). By Cocido well served fresh greens, green onions, mint and different marinades. A glass of red tart does not hurt.


Well, you dare to cook?

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