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Spanish Cuisine The Cocido Madrileño
El Cocido : One Of The Most Representative Dishes Of Spanish Cuisine
When I think about Madrid the first thing that comes to my head is a salty flavour, the sharp flavour of cured Serrano Ham and Manchego cured cheese. Next is the smell of the Cocido -Madrid's trademark soup- bubbling in someone's kitchen and aromatizing the whole street. A smell that makes you want to sit at the table and enjoy the warmth and richness of this soup.
If you are ever in Madrid you need to have a Cocido. To leave Madrid without having had this jewel from the Spanish cuisine, is sacrilege. You might like it or not... but the very least that you can do is try it for yourself.
I always remember a city or a village for its cuisine. I must admit that I even create my opinions on a place largely based on its wine and food. I easily forget places I have visited if I don't find a culinary interest in the place. On the contrary I always remember and return to places where I have indulged to the point of being greedy.
In Madrid, my opinion was set: churros with thick hot chocolate for breakfast and a Cocido for lunch. And after a good cocido for lunch, believe me, you will not be needing dinner!
The Cocido Madrileño is the most representative dish of Madrid. It is between a soup and a stew prepared mainly of chickpeas. According to the household or availability, the vegetables and meats used can vary. It is a dish perfect for winter. Usually it is eaten as an only dish due to its richness.
Cocido Madrileño is probably the most representative dish of Madrid's cuisine.
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El Cocido: An Aphrodisiac Meal
Like with most recipes, there is no ONE Cocido but several versions. My favourite of course is Carmen Balcells Cocido for orgies, from the book Afrodita. Mrs. Bacells assures us that this aphrodisiac soup can bring back desire even to the most tired soul! And is not a surprise, as this soup certainly makes your eyelids sweat, so at least you will be doing a strip tease before you leave the table.
However, it is a very complicated dish to prepare. So do not make it for your lover if you are planning a ‘romantic night'. More than likely you will collapse exhausted in his arms after the two days preparation. Instead, do a bit of research. Ask where is the best place in Madrid to go for a truly Madrileño meal and take your lover there. Even better, make acquaintances with a local Señora and invite yourselves to her table to enjoy a truly home-made Cocido, you will not be disappointed.
Preparing a Cocido
If however, you are determined to make your own, I will put you off by telling you that you will need an army-size pan (at least for ten litres).
To start, you boil half a hen, a cow's bone for soup, Spanish bacon, a pig's ear, nose, and foot; and the bone of a "Serrano ham" a type of dried cured ham. Simmer for a couple of hours and add all your vegetables, mainly carrots, cabbage, celery and leeks; leave to boil for at least an hour.
In a different pan you prepare some meatballs.
In another pan you prepare the chickpeas. If you feel adventurous you can prepare some morcilla and chorizos to add to the soup. Tired yet? ... I am surely exhausted just thinking about all that work!...
I usually prefer to see the end result at the table. To serve, first there is the caldo. This is the clear stock. Some people take it with a drop of Spanish Sherry, the greedy ones add a few spoonfuls of cooked rice to make it thicker.
The most important part of the meal is the meat. Tough meats full of flavour that are tender by the time they reach your table. Then, you have the vegetables and chickpeas, uhmmm... Don't forget... if you are ever in Madrid, you cannot leave without having tried their Cocido Madrileño. Provecho!
Is the Cocido for you?
History of Cocido Madrileno Recipe
Although the exact origin of the cocido madrileño still a matter of debate, most sources agree that the dish could have originated sometime during the Middle Ages.
Cocido madrileño was for many years one of the most consumed dishes in the Spanish capital and before the Spanish civil war it was considered as the most popular dish.
What Wine To Drink With A Cocido ?
A wine with body is needed to bring together all the different elements in this dish - the delicate flavours of the vegetables and pulses, the texture of the meat, and the intensity of the chorizo and black sausage.
My top choice would be a Rioja Gran Reserva - 24 months aging in barrel and a further 36 months in bottle before release- .
The best Place To Eat A Cocido In Madrid : La Bola
La Bola is a small, tightly packed corner restaurant frequented by locals and tourists alike. If you order the cocido, like amost, everyone else does it will served almost immediately. You can have a "peek" at the bola and how they prepare their cocido in the video below.
Remember to have a light breakfast as the cocido is a hearty meal and it will keep you going for the rest of the day.
A Spanish Winter dish
Why Is The Cocido So Good For You?
What makes a cocido so good for your health is its high content in fiber. Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans have long been valued for their fiber content. They contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup, thus a good serving of cocido at lunch time (approximately two cups of chickpeas ) can provide 50% of the Daily Recommended Value.
Recent studies have shown that the garbanzo bean also helps to improve blood fat regulation, including lowering levels of LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides. As little as 3/4 cup of garbanzos per day can help lower your LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a one-month period of time.