When I started writing today’s recipe I noticed that is the third stew in a row I post. At home, we try to match the food we eat with the weather and this hasn’t been quite summery over the last couple of days. In fact, I am wearing long sleeve again on my way to work every morning. Therefore, our daily menus are a mixture of both cold and warm dishes, with salads and one-pots taking turns on our table.
Madrid is hosting some regional celebrations these days and so I decided to cook its most iconic dish: Cocido. Like lentils, this is another Spanish household staple and part of the stews rotation. And like most of the Spanish one-pots, it originated in the rural areas and then expanded to the cities. In our gastronomy, there are plenty of dishes known as cocido that are cooked with local produce. What I am featuring today is a domestic version of something close to the Madrid-style one (Cocido madrileño). I say that for two reasons: one, because I am missing many ingredients; and two, because in Madrid the broth and the ingredients are served separately. Hence why I refer to it in the title as simply cocido.
This recipe is as easy as pouring water in a pot, dropping all the ingredients and cooking slowly until everything is done. There is no mystery, absolutely not. However, you will need to search deep for some ingredients around your local area. I could get hold of the pork fat and the salted ribs in a store called Brasileiro. They cook a similar meal named Feijoada and so they use pretty much the same stuff-back on the day was so helpful to discover that. As per the chorizo, I advice you to get hold of a fresh one where possible. If you use the standard, cured type it’s ok, but bear in mind it cooks differently. Now, did I say cocido is easy to make? Yes, but bear in mind that chickpeas need to be perfectly tender and chewable. Using a normal pot, you can easily spend three to four hours. On the contrary, a pressure cooker can save you some time-although in my opinion it doesn’t bring the same taste.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
Fresh chickpeas (400 g)
Large potato (1)
Chicken drumsticks (2)
Pork fat cubes (known in Spanish as tocino, 1)
Salted pork rib (1)
Chorizo (4 pieces)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
The night before, soak the chickpeas in the pot with water. Add also a generous amount of salt and cover with the lid. This is necessary so they soften enough to be ready to cook the following day. After a whole night (10-12 hours), they will have expanded.
2. Change the water, add salt again and start boiling at medium heat. A layer of froth will come up at some point, so remove it and keep boiling. After 60 minutes boiling you may need to change the water again as it is quite dirty. Do it, add more salt and return the pot to the heat at medium power.
3. Dice the potato, chop the carrot and add them into the pot with the rest of the ingredients (with exception of the chorizo). Stir a couple of times and keep boiling at medium heat for about 90 minutes. You will notice the broth gradually turns into a yellowish colour as a result of what every ingredient releases into it. This evidences the cooking is on its way.
4. Regularly check the taste and the tenderness of the chickpeas. Add more salt and water where needed. The ingredients must be covered in water at all times.
5. Once the chickpeas are totally tender, add the chorizo pieces and cook for a couple of minutes. They will release some fat into the broth and it will change to a reddish colour. After that, switch off the heat, cover with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes. Finally, it will be ready to serve.