I know, guys… yet again, another Ray-Ray complaint. I just can NOT stop. I try, kids… I REALLY freaking try. I put her show on and within 30 seconds, I put her on mute. Within a minute, the channel is changed. I can’t do it. I try over and over again, and over and over again the result is the same – shivers, throwing things at the TV, tearing bits of my hair out. After seeing this mild bastardization of the delicious, and AUTHENTICALLY SPANISH dish of Cocido, I could not stay silent again.
In Ray-Ray’s defense, I immediately thought her recipe looked wrong and jumped at the chance to rip her apart. I thought to myself, minced meat?? Chicken “tenders”!? Adding nutmeg and cinnamon??!! Blasphemy! But, after much research, I have found that sometimes cocido can contain meatballs made of minced beef. The chicken tenders are pointless because you want the flavor of the chicken skins and bones. Nutmeg and cinnamon? Ya got me there, Rach. Maybe my trusty Spaniard friend, Nuria could weigh in on this? Regardless, I’m here to spread some knowledge on one of my favorite things to eat while in Madrid.
Cocido is one of the national dishes of Spain, has many regional variations (cocido madrileno from Madrid, cocido montanes from Cantabria and cocido maragato from Castile-Leon) and is often eaten midday. It should take a long time to cook (simmering away all night or all day) and, most importantly, contains various types of cured and smoked pork products and meat, bones, trotters, etc. On holy days or when meat should not be eaten, cocido can be made with bacalao (salted cod) or congrio (salted congereel). Long and slow cooking of the cocido along with it’s other elements; chickpeas, carrots, potatoes and cabbage (among other veggies), creates an amazingly flavorful and rich caldo (broth/stock). It is believed that cocido was introduced to Spain by the Sephardic Jews (Jews that chose to convert to Catholicism) who added pork and sausage to the stew creating the dish we know today. Work is not allowed on the Sabbath so, before it began, they would throw all the ingredients in a pot in order to cook slowly all day, only to be eaten at sundown.
Cocido will usually, and traditionally, be served in at least two courses, often three. The first course is always the strained caldo – pure, golden and rich, maybe with some rice or noodles. The second course could be all the vegetables alone or the veggies plus the meat (as we had it in Madrid – see pics). This would include morcilla (Spanish black sausage), chorizo, pieces of the meats (pork, chicken, pork belly etc.), potatoes, chickpeas, cabbage, carrots, leeks, etc. It is a very filling meal, but extremely tasty and satisfying. It took us about 2 hours to eat ours while we were in Madrid, and we rolled out of the restaurant with the top button of our pants undone and a big smile on our faces.
I also want to clarify something – there is traditional Spanish cocido and a Mexican version. The Mexican cocido may include corn, chayote green beans, zucchini and cilantro. They garnish with lime, salsa and/or jalapenos and Mexican rice and it can be served with tortillas. There is a HUGE difference in these dishes.
In conclusion, this is the best recipe I found for cocido on the web, although I would probably add some more cooking time to the recipe. Although my husband was inspired to make this soup after his first cocido experience during a trip to Northern Spain in 2003, it’s just not the real deal. I hope to order my morcilla and fresh chorizo from La Tienda, talk to my butcher about some pork belly and make this traditional version one day soon.