My abuelita, who grew up in Valencia, Spain, started cooking at the age of five. She was the only daughter and her mother was ill and spent most of her time on bedrest. Every day, her father and brothers returned from a long day at work…starving. So to make sure they were well fed her mother prepared most of the ingredients, set my abuelita on a stool by the stove, and had her stir the dish that had been planned for that day.
That’s how my grandmother learned to cook and to this day, she never follows a recipe. She simply “eyeballs” the process. That, however, makes it hard for us grandchildren to pry any recipes out of her! I did manage to figure out, as near as possible, her recipe for Cocido Madrileño, a hearty winter soup we all enjoyed. This healthy, wholesome, complete meal is best enjoyed as a weekend lunch followed by a cozy siesta... just like we used to do in Spain. Enjoy!
Read Related: Estefan’s Split Pea Soup
Time: 3 hours, mostly unattended
2 cups garbanzo beans
9 oz. veal, cut into 2 inch chunks
5 oz. chunk of Serrano ham
1 5” ham bone
1 3” chunk of veal bone marrow
5 oz. 2-inch thick bacon chunks
1 large 10 inch chorizo cut into 4 inch pieces
2 large carrots
1 cup pasta noodles (fideos)
Water, enough to cover the ingredients and two inches over
Morcilla (blood sausage) [can be omitted]
1. Allow garbanzo beans to sit in water overnight; drain excess water and set aside.
2. Press the cloves into peeled the onion and set aside.
3. Cook veal, bones, chorizo and ham in a large pot in just enough water to cover. Add salt to taste.
4. When the water begins to boil, remove the excess foam and after an hour, add the garbanzo beans, onion and carrots, whole.
5. Cover pot and simmer for an hour and a half.
6. Drain the stock and reserve the rest of the ingredients on a platter.
7. Put the stock back into the same pot, and use it to cook the noodles.
8. In a different pot, boil the peeled potatoes, drain and place along with the rest of the ingredients you reserved.
9. Cut the cooked vegetables into big chunks and add to the meat platter.
10. Serve the noodle soup alongside the garbanzo beans, meat and vegetables on a separate plate.