Puchero/Cocido, Revisited

I first posted this recipe on Dec 27, 2005, when readership drops immediately after Christmas Day, so it is not a surprise that the vast majority of readers today have not seen it. Puchero/Cocido done in this manner is superb Sunday food. It is easy, delicious, filling, and great party food where folks linger at the table, telling great stories that seem to grow with one’s age. Apparently, a cocido is often prepared in Spain during the “sacrifice” or slaughter of pigs, and parts of the pig that are not used for other purposes are stewed in a big pot with herbs, veggies and garbanzos or chick peas… Evolution of this one pot dish has included addition of other meats, chorizos, fruit, etc. Most of the versions I have tasted, as long as it is made with love and allowed to simmer for hours, is utterly delicious. Enjoy!

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!

(Apicio, is this what you were looking for? Or a more authentic version?)

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17 Responses

  1. This is considered comfort food at home. It’s only our Mom who eats the bone marrow. My sister and I did not develop a taste for it. I will try your version, since we don’t use leeks and blood sausage when we make ours at home.

  2. this cocido recipe is my all time success in cooking story..my french friends loved it! down to the eggplant/patis/garlic sauce. i agree, it was a beloved sunday dinner staple. as a kid, sunday breakfast was golden fried chicken, garlic fried rice w/eggs and tomatoe/cucumber salad and ketchup!..but that’s another story.

  3. Yes and thank you. Our very own pot-au-feu only much better. You can serve me this for a month of Sundays and I imagine I won’t ever grow tired of it and nothing can topple it from my top ten unless of course it is your Kari-kari in tandem with your binagoongang bagket.

  4. Yes, this is my comfort food too. My mom used to cook this with corn and shitake mushrooms (weird but good)when she was still alive. I miss her cooking. I wish I paid attention and learned how she did it :-)

  5. Our family looks forward to New Year’s media noche for this family heirloom recipe. Served only every new year’s eve…something to look forward to every year!Ãœ

    My father’s lola used to cook Cocido for them every Sunday when they visit the house in Quiapo.

  6. Yummy..yummy…yummy!! This is the way my Lola used to make it. Afterwards, the leftover meats were shredded up and made into “Ropa Vieja”, something like “Adobo Flakes” only yummier. Also harder to make. If I remember right, my Lola used to add squash, potatoes, and a whole chicken.

  7. I love this dish the day after it was cooked. The flavors are in there and matured.

  8. My puchero version is basically the same veggies that you used, minus the chorizo de bilbao and blood sausage. But instead of garbanzos, I use canned pork & beans so the broth is kinda sweet. I’ll give it a try with grilled eggplant

  9. you call it comfort food, my family calls it “holiday season food” ‘coz this is served usually on christmas and new year in our family. my version is similar to yours, except for the chorizo and blood sausage. also i just boil (as opposed to broiling) the eggplant, then i mash it add some mashed potato then put in a dressing of vinegar, salt, pepper and some sugar. our dipping sauce is usually patis with calamansi. whenever i serve puchero, my kids know there must be something good to celebrate. i also cook this in a very large batch, like you do because like maria clara said, it tastes better the day after it’s cooked.

  10. Thanks MM .. just like my Lola used to make and which I often try to replicate to moderate success … :-)

  11. i always thought puchero was a dish passed down in my family from my lola’s spanish side, it’s totally pinoy pala! we have this dish on sundays and we include sausage-shaped ground meat, i guess to make up for the chorizo which gets eaten up so quickly! also in our family, before eating, we cut up the meat and vegetables, mix it with the rice, and mix in the olive oil, vinegar, and tomato sauce — kinda like when as a kid your yaya would cut your food and mix it up in one big mash. haven’t tried the grilled eggplant sauce yet, should try it out. thanks for featuring this! you know with all our comments on food, you can write a book on traditional pinoy food + alternate versions of your readers.

  12. Yes, this is also our family’s favorite. Both version, the one with the tomato based sauce, which we call cocido and the one with the grilled eggplant relish on the side as puchero. But we liked the one with the grilled eggplant accompaniment better. We also loved it with the saba bananas.

    Our version though is the simpler and more economical one, no blood sausage, though we also boil ham bone together with the meats for added flavor. Ham bone is always available at majestic outlets or at Excelente Ham Store.

    For ordinary days, we just have calamansi and patis as dipping sauce. Hmmmm……yummy!

  13. i am proud to say that in my family ako ang authority when it comes to cooking pochero….i will forever be indebted to my high school teacher for teaching us this recipe….i cook mine with canned pork and beans…i will try your way with the blood sausage and all….hmmm, just seeing this lang makes me wanna go to the kitchen and cook up na…

  14. i missed this dish just like my mama does except fir the grilled eggplant

  15. i missed this dish just like my mama cook it except for the grilled eggplant

  16. I always differentiated cocido from puchero from the ingredients used. While both may be made with a bunch of stewed meats and veggies, puchero as wickedlysexy puts it, has the saba banana and pork and beans thrown in. Spaniards will never add the banana/pork and beans can to a classic cocido. So just like all other ‘base’ recipes of Spanish influence (eg. flan, champurrado, paella), there will always be a twist on the other colonized countries based on available ingredients….hence a different name. Just my two cents…

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