Cocido is one of the greatest classic Spanish dishes, but outside of Spain, it’s often overshadowed by well-known favourites such as paella. Although cocido is a simple dish, made up of humble ingredients such as chickpeas, potatoes and ham bones, the preparation and serving of cocido is a ritual, with multiple stages and reincarnations. Above all, it must be eaten at lunchtime! Here, we’re going to show you how to make the basic cocido stew, which you’ll need to make (and enjoy!) before converting its leftovers into delicious sopa de videos, croquetas de cocido and ropa vieja.
Just like paella, debate rages over the correct ingredients for cocido. Cocido can be roughly split into three camps – madrileño, gallego and andaluz. Each regional variety has the same basic ingredients of chickpeas, potatoes and carrots. However, cocido madrileño is made with pretty much every meat imaginable – chicken, ham bone, beef shank, tocino and chorizo and morcilla sausage, whereas cocido gallego has pork shoulder, ear and tons of cabbage! Our recipe is based on a cocido andaluz, which contains chicken and green beans and is therefore ‘lighter’ than other cocidos. You’ll still probably need a good siesta afterwards, though!
Ingredients (serves 4)
300g dried chickpeas
500g chicken thighs – bone in
3 medium potatoes
120g green beans
2 large slices of ham bone (hueso de jamón – available here)
1. The night before, cover the chickpeas in water and leave to soak overnight.
2. The next day, drain the chickpeas and place in a large saucepan and cover with water until it comes around 4cm above the level of the chickpeas. Cook on a low heat for several minutes and then add the chicken.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Peel the potatoes and carrots, trim the ends off the green beans and put to one side for now. After about ten minutes, the chickpeas will start to release foam. Remove as much foam as possible with a large spoon. Repeat two or three times. Cook for a further ten minutes and then add the ham bone.
4. Cut the carrots into two pieces and add to the saucepan with the green beans. Cook for twenty minutes.
5. Cut the potatoes in half and add to the saucepan with three glasses of water. Cook for a further thirty minutes or until the potatoes and chickpeas are cooked through.
6. If you want to serve your cocido the traditional way, remove around one litre of the stock and cook fine noodles in it to make sopa de fideos. This soup will be your first course, followed by the chickpeas, veggies and meat on a large platter. Dig in!