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Spanish Cocido Madrileño
Rich meat and vegetable stew from Madrid

What's the big idea?

Cocido Madrileño - or simply cocido - is probably one of Spain's most traditional dishes. Traditionally cooked in a huge cauldron, simmering away all day, there are countless variations of the recipe, but it always contains a variety of meats, various vegetables, and chick peas. Within the selection of meats, it is customary to use a combinatin of salt meat, fresh meat and sausage (preferably smoked) for the optimum flavour. Some of the meats used in this traditional version of the recipe may not appeal to everyone for resons of personal taste or culture; feel free to substitute altrnatives, but try to maintain a mix of salted and fresh meat and smoked sausage.

NB: You will need two very large pans or flameproof casseroles to prepare this dish.

There are as many traditions relating to serving cocido as there are to cooking it. Some will serve all the elements at once in a large bowl. Others will serve a little of the broth first as a soup, and then the meats and vegetables separately afterwards.

Where we have thought of suitable alternatives for some of the ingredients, we have noted them below.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 9oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or two x 400g tins of pre-soaked chickpeas, drained)
  • 1lb cured brisket of beef or silverside, in one piece
  • 9oz salt pork belly or streaky bacon, in one piece
  • 1lb knuckle gammon bone, with some meat attached
  • 1½lb beef marrow bone, sawn across
  • 4 chicken pieces, e.g. thighs
  • 1 pig's trotter, split
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small whole onion, studded with 2 cloves
  • 1½lb Savoy cabbage, quartered
  • 2 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 2 leeks, thickly sliced
  • 1lb new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 chorizos, or other smoked sausage (plastic skin removed if present)
  • 1 morcilla or 7oz black pudding (plastic skin removed if present)

What To Do

  • Place the salted meat (brisket or silverside, salt pork belly or bacon and gammon knuckle) in a suitably large container
  • Cover with cold water and leave to soak for a couple of hours
  • Drain the salted meat and place this in a very large saucepan or flameproof casserole - at least 10 pints - skin side down, with the beef bone
  • Place the chicken pieces and trotter on top. Add the garlic bulb, bay leaves and peppercorns and cover with water
  • Bring to a simmer, skimming off any scum that forms
  • If using dried chickpeas, drain them and add them to the pot. Cover and simmer on the lowest possible heat for 45 minutes, checking occasionally
  • Add the onion stuck with the cloves. If using tinned chickpeas, add them now. Simmer on a very low heat for a further 45 minutes
  • Put the quartered cabbage, carrots, leeks and potatoes in a second casserole, with the chorizo and black pudding
  • Cover the ingredients with lightly salted water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the potatoes are ready
  • Drain the vegetables and sausages and slice the sausages. Arrange the vegetables decoratively on a serving plate and put the sausage slices on top
  • Remove the meats and chickpeas from the main pot. Discard the bones
  • Carve all the meats and arrange with the chickpeas on a serving plate, with a little of the broth poured over the top

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