For the first time yesterday, amidst the howling of monsoon winds and the pouring of buckets of rainwater, I cooked my very first cocido madrileño. The Cocido used to be a staple among buenas familias’ (good families) tables in the Philippines but I have noticed that in during these past few decades, many Filipino families have forgotten or totally abandoned these traditional (not to mention, complex and difficult) dishes in exchange for Italian pastas, Korean barbecues and Japanese sushi platters. Not that there is anything wrong with this broadening and education of the Filipino palette. No, of course not. But it is again another sad and significant indication of our Hispanic heritage’s continuous decline. The Filipino table was once considered the last bastion of our Hispanic heritage but now it is being strongly challenged. What used to be usual fare is now considered completely Spanish or alien; they have ceased being Filipino, sadly.
Why cook cocido at the height of typhoon Mina anyway? Simple. It is a hearty, decadent stew that combines plenty of “power ingredients” that can warm both the body and the soul. Plus, it was a Sunday. This dish was a typical feature in Filipino families during their Sunday lunches particularly those held in grandmothers’ homes. The recipes for the cocido, as well as callos, galantina, different rellenos (stuffed food), home-made sardines, calderetas, morcons as well as kare-kares and roasts/asados are usually age-old family heirlooms passed by the elder, venerable generations to the generation of our grandparents (thus the need to salvage them before our grandparents die!)
Many of the ingredients, likewise, were already stored in either our fridge or pantry, therefore, there was no need to brave the strong winds and heavy rains of Mina. All I had to buy were the jamón serrano, its bone, morcilla (blood sausage) and the beef shanks. Here are the other ingredients:
INGREDIENTS (for both the stock and the tomato sauce):
4 portions of a whole Pork Pata (leg)
1/2 kilo beef
1 whole chicken cut into pieces
1 can of garbanzos
1 whole cabbage
1 big carrot
5 cloves of garlic
Chorizo de Bilbao
jamón serrano serrano and bone
red wine (I used Lambrusco)
1 cup of tomato sauce
Salt and peppercorns
I first sauteed a chopped onion and a chopped tomato in considerable amounts of lard in a big casserole. I also added some garlic before the onions were cooked. I then added water and some salt and pepper corns, then once it boiled, I turned down the heat and added the beef shanks and the pata as well as the aromatic ham bone. That was 7:30 in the morning I had to constantly monitor the tenderizing of the meats because I had to make sure the stalk wouldn’t be boiling. Unfortunately, the pork knuckles got overcooked when I asked the help to take over for a while as I watched TV and chatted with friends and relatives in Irene-threatened US East Coast.
After removing the pata not without worried questions for the maid who was supposed to watch over it, I added the chicken into the broth and also a wine glass of red wine, a table spoon of paprika and more salt and pepper.
Around 40 minutes later, when the beef was already tender and the chicken cooked, I allowed the stalk to boil. I slowly added all the other ingredients. First was the morcilla and sausages, then the peeled potatoes and carrots, then the garbanzos, string beans and celery stalks and cabbage.
Because I wanted to preserve the crispness and also, the nutrients of the veggies, I took them out immediately, simply blanching them and placed them at the bottom of my serving platter for the meats. One must remember than in serving cocido, the three components should be served separately: the meats, the sauce and the soup.
I poured more tomato sauce into the soup and also more wine as well as paprika.
In another pan, I started t sweat the bacon in a little bit of olive oil, and when it was half-way cooked, I also added this into the cocido. Again, I lowered the heat for the soup not to boil but only for it to simmer.
With the oils and fats of the bacon, the other pan where I made the tomato sauce. Four onions, 3 cloves of garlic and 4 chopped tomatoes were the main stars in that sauce, melodiously giving off a heavenly scent that filled the kitchen. When the tomatoes were wilted, I added some tomato sauce, salt and pepper as well as some chili powder to spike up the sauce.
Then, it was only a matter of time when I served the three components of my version of the traditional Cocido madrileño, a hearty, heavy and rich stew that was appreciated greatly on a cold, windy and rainy Sunday lunch.
This recipe hecho ayer.