27 Dec2005

Puchero/Cocido

by Marketman

I honestly do not know what the difference is between a “proper” puchero and a “proper” cocido, cocido1and I’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 with… 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 ain’t gonna sweat it and will just give you a run down of the puchero/cocido that I served to some guests last night…

If you have had your fill of holiday artery cloggers and just want a hot bowl of soup, settle for cocido2Part I of a proper cocido/puchero – the “caldo” 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, it’s such a big production that it is comfort food for a whole barangay… this was more a dish my wife’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 could…

First the broth. I used a ham bone leftover from the holidays to flavor the broth acocido4and boiled it on low heat for roughly 1 and ½ 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. cocido5We 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 stockpot…I have the biggest pot that Le Creuset manufactures, I reckon… Enjoy! I was so distracted I forgot to photograph the broth!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Gigi says:

    Merry Christmas, Marketman! I love the eggplant side dish! Really good with pochero indeed. I use the beef brisket cut for nilaga and pochero. It’s fatty but heck, it’s flavorful. I personally trim off the fat. I just like how succulent the meat is.

    Dec 27, 2005 | 6:12 pm

     
  2. kulasa says:

    Merry Christmas MM. Your pochero/cocido look very much like my mom and grandma makes! The soup, vegetables, and meat are all served separately. I recall posting how we had cocido at our house sometime back.

    This brings back memories of all those Sunday lunches we had when my parents were still alive. I don’t know, but serving cocido in other than lunch and other than a Sunday doesn’t make it seem as tasty as it should be.

    Sometimes, instead of meat, we’d use chicken. For chorizo, it had to be Marca El Rey or my dad would go ballistic.

    Dec 27, 2005 | 9:15 pm

     
  3. Mrs. Marketman says:

    One of the things I remember looking forward to after a Sunday cocido feast was the promise of leftovers the next day. Called “ropa vieja” or literally “old clothes,” we cut up all the remaining meat and vegetables and mixed them together with the tomato sauce and the broth on the side. It seemed like all the flavors melded together and with crusty bread, we sopped up every single morsel and wiped our plates clean. Yummm. Truly memorable and delicious comfort food.

    Dec 28, 2005 | 1:40 am

     
  4. Elna Smith says:

    Oh, I love puchero and always wanted to cook it on my own but just never got around to actually doing it. My yaya Ason makes them a lot back in the Phils but I haven’t really learned it myself. Your recipe seems easy and will give it a try tomorrow – will be good for this freezing cold London weather. Thanks for posting this recipe MM. Hope you had a great christmas!

    Dec 28, 2005 | 2:29 am

     
  5. Hchie says:

    Nilagang Bi-as is what we call our version of Puchero. It is served in my mom’s house almost every Sunday and it really is comfort food for us. Everytime any of the family comes to visit, my mom always asks what special food we want and this is it. Although we make it in our respective homes, her’s just seems to come out much better. Mom’s is a much simpler version wherein the beef shank is boiled in onions and peppercorns till tender and have saging na saba and cabbage added in later. We serve it with an eggplant ensalada and Patis Tanza (a really aromatic and flavourful shrimp sauce made in my mom’s hometown).

    Dec 28, 2005 | 8:22 am

     
  6. anson says:

    Here is a little trivia about ropa vieja. Left overs were called “ropa vieja” because it was laundry day. Since the mother or the wife was occupied with doing the laundry, the family has to content themselves to a meal of left overs or a stew made from left overs.

    Dec 28, 2005 | 5:21 pm

     
  7. amalfi_boy says:

    Your puchero makes my mouth water. I love the de-constucted version, which is similar, imho, to a salad nicoise where you separated the major ingredients upon seving.

    Other than going to your house and forcing you at gunpoint to prepare and serve this dish, can you recommend a local restaurant that serves a good version of this dish?

    Thanks.

    Dec 29, 2005 | 7:47 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Amalfi_boy, sorry, I have never actually eaten this in a restaurant, perhaps other readers can suggest a place? anson, thanks for that trivia, I wondered where the name was from… Hchie, just learned that bi-as equals beef shank… Elna I hope your puchero worked out… kulasa, ever wonder why those cans of chorizo el rey are SO HUMONGOUS? I always have to buy the chorizo by the single piece… Gigi, you are a glutton for fat and all its incarnations!!!

    Dec 29, 2005 | 9:25 pm

     
  9. anson says:

    oops for those of you who don’t read Spanish. Ropa Vieja means “Old Clothes”.

    Dec 30, 2005 | 4:21 pm

     
  10. JOSE MIGUEL C. ABAD says:

    Beef shanks, pork belly, native chicken, el rey chorizo de bilbao are usually the main ingredients of our puchero. But I have tried adding beef tripes and intestines tastes better.

    Jul 25, 2008 | 11:40 am

     
 

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