The origins of the cocido are uncertain, but most sources agree that probably it was created during the Middle Ages as an evolution of the Sephardic dish adafina or maybe of the olla podrida manchega (potpourri).
Following the first line, long cooking dishes were indispensable for Jews as they allowed hearty meals during Shabbat. These first versions were kosher, using eggs and without pork. But the Inquisition during the 15th and 16th centuries modified the dish substantially, as the fear of being denounced as Jewish forced Christians and converted Jews (Marranos) alike to prove themselves as Christians by incorporating pork into their meals. Soon lard, bacon, chorizo (pork sausage) and morcilla (blood sausage) were added to the dish.
Today’s version tries to emule the cocido served at the legendary restaurant Lhardy, established in Madrid in 1838 under the sponsorship of Eugenia de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III. They add another element to this dish, the filling or ball. Some people fry it with or without a coat of breadcrumbs before adding it to the pot. I didn’t do it, too many steps, but here are the ingredients too in case you want to try it.
- 300 g of chickpeas
- 3 chorizos
- 3 blood sausages (Black pudding)
- 3 sausages
- 3 whole potatoes
- 2 ham hocks
- 2 carrots
- 1 cabbage
- 1 chicken
- 1 veal shank
- 1 piece of bacon
- 1 piece of salted ham,
- 300 ml of natural fried tomato sauce
For the ball or filling:
- 400 g of ground beef
- 150 g of bacon
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 eggs
- Fresh bread crumbs
- Parsley and sea salt
For the soup:
- 1 handful of thin noodles for person
Soak chickpeas for 12 hours.
To make the ball or filling, mix the ground beef, garlic and parsley mashed with the eggs. Season and form a thick cylinder. Reserve.
In a pot with cold water, cook at loow heat for 2 hours all the meats and carrots. Once cooked, remove all the ingredients together with enough broth to give everything a boil just before serving.
In the remaining broth, add the ball (which you will remove after half hour of cooking), along with the chickpeas inside a cooking net. Cook them 2 ½ hours. In another pot with cold water, cook the diced cabbage and add the chorizo, ham, sausage and some bacon, cook for 2 hours.
Strain the cooking juices from the meats, bring to a boil and add the noodles, let them boil for 8 minutes, depending on their thickness.
The cocido is eaten traditionally in three “vuelcos” or spills: The soup, the veggies and the meats.
First, transfer the soup to a tureen. Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the meats, ball, and carrot. In another plate, place the cabbage, sausage, black pudding, chorizo, ham and potato. Serve with warm natural fried tomato sauce.