I honestly do not know what the difference is between a â€œproperâ€ puchero and a â€œproperâ€ cocido, and Iâ€™m not sure it matters much at all. At first I thought puchero was the local equivalent of the continental Madrileno cocido, or Spanish hotpot, but some basic googling suggests that puchero is evolved from a Mexican and South American tradition which in turn likely came from Spain to begin withâ€¦ I also thought the addition of saba bananas must make puchero uniquely our own evolved version until some basic recipes for the Central American pucheros yielded ingredients such as peaches and other sweet fruits as part of the recipe! At any rate, I ainâ€™t gonna sweat it and will just give you a run down of the puchero/cocido that I served to some guests last nightâ€¦
If you have had your fill of holiday artery cloggers and just want a hot bowl of soup, settle for Part I of a proper cocido/puchero â€“ the â€œcaldoâ€ as it is referred to, or the heady broth of meat flavors and vegetables juices. But I could never stop there and always go whole hog for the entire heaping plate of various meats and veggies and accompanying sauces better known as Part II. Another point of differentiation is that most recipes I found for puchero suggest an accompaniment of grilled eggplant but recipes for a cocido include a tomato based sauce. So our solution? We serve both of course at our house. This recipe is total comfort food for us and better yet, itâ€™s such a big production that it is comfort food for a whole barangayâ€¦ this was more a dish my wifeâ€™s family ate with gusto on special occasions or large Sunday meals when they were growing up but I adopted it as quickly as I couldâ€¦
First the broth. I used a ham bone leftover from the holidays to flavor the broth and boiled it on low heat for roughly 1 and Â½ hours with some beef shank, bones included and add 2 onions quartered, 2 stalks of leeks, some peppercorns and 2 tomatoes quartered. Make sure to skim the surface religiously to ensure a clearer broth. Remove the beef and bones then cook pork (pigue cut) and chicken until soft. Remove meats and set aside. Taste the brothe and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add some fried slab bacon if you have it and some chorizo de bilbao and one morcilla or blood sausage. Add saba bananas until just cooked. When just about ready to serve, add cabbage, green beans, canned garbanzos or chickpeas, and cook until done.
Serve the meats on one platter and the vegetables on another. We serve the broth first then eat all of the meat and veggies together. Add a dollop of eggplant relish (broil eggplants on grill and peel and chop up and add some garlic oil and vinegar) and some tomato sauce made from fresh or canned tomatoes stewed with oliveoil, garlic, onions and some broth. Serve this all with cruets of good live oil and vinegar on the side. Heaven. Really good. Really satisfying and ultimately, really easy to make. You can feed 15 if you have a really big stockpotâ€¦I have the biggest pot that Le Creuset manufactures, I reckonâ€¦ Enjoy! I was so distracted I forgot to photograph the broth!