Chickpeas and then some: Cocido Madrileño

After visiting Madrid and discovering the highlights of Spanish traditional cuisine, I naturally felt like trying to reproduce it at home. Following the same idea as the Sardinian hen broth – a dish that is designed to feed a whole family reunited for a weekend meal; and in the same fashion, Cocido delivers several dishes on the table in one go. The richness of the meats and the goodness of the veggies, the comfort of the soup and the flavour of the chickpeas all come together to create a small feast that will fill up your table and stomach and leave you incredibly satisfied on a chilly March day.

1 chicken of the weight of 2kg max, even better if you can get a small hen
200 g cut of beef for stews
50 g pancetta
150 g piece of bacon
1 small piece of ham bone (which I imported from Spain, but any bone would do)
1 chorizo for cooking
1 morcilla for cooking
200 g chickpeas
1 green cabbage
2 potatoes
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
Bay leaves
Salt and pepper

Step 1 – The night before you intend to make your Cocido, put the chickpeas in water and leave them to soak all night.

Step 2 – Clean your chicken or hen making sure all the blood has been drained and put it into a big sauce pan. Add the bacon, beef, pancetta and ham bone. Add the chickpeas to the pan. Peel the garlic, onion, potatoes and carrots, chop them into big chunks and add them to the pan (or leave them whole if you prefer and your pan is big enough). Add black peppercorn and Bay leaves and cover up in water. Turn the heat on quite high till the water starts boiling, then bring it down to simmer and, every now and then, skim off the foam that comes up on the surface. Leave it to cook on the stove for about three hours.

Step 3 – Some people would add the chorizo and the morcilla to the broth, but actually their strong flavour would make the soup too heavy, as they release a lot of fat when they boil. So we boil them separately for about 10/15 minutes, in a smaller sauce pan. Remember to pierce the skin of the meats when they are boiling, so you avoid spilling grease all over your kitchen when you slice them once they are ready. After they are boiled, put the sliced meats on the side.


Step 4 – I’m afraid you’ll need another sauce pan, in this one add some salted water and your washed and halved cabbage. Let it simmer in bubbling water for 15/20 minutes till it’s cooked to your taste. Then drain.

Step 5 – Fry a clove of garlic in some extra virgin olive oil till it turns golden. Turn the heat off and add the cabbage to it, and flavour the mix with some paprika. One part of your feast is ready.

Step 6 – When your broth is ready, you can separate the ingredients. Serve the broth as a starter with the veggies, and have the meats as the main, with a side of chickpeas and cabbage. Enjoy your meal slowly, over sobremesa with your friends and family!


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