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Cocido Madrileño: A deeply comforting and beloved stew from Madrid

By: Kara Elder The Washington Post
March 7, 2018
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Cocido Madrileno MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Goran Kosanovic

You're probably familiar with Spanish paella and tapas. Now meet cocido Madrileño, a beloved stew from Madrid. A small bite this is not. "In Spain, we normally eat it at 2 p.m., drink wine and take a nap," says David Sierra, chef at the Capitol Hill restaurant Joselito Casa de Comidas. His recipe, based on the one his mother made every Sunday, takes two days to prepare and is served only on Thursdays during winter. (It's tradition that restaurants serve it on Thursdays in Spain, says Sierra, because according to legend, that is the day that King Alfonso XIII would go out to eat the cocido.)

While most of the dish's components are cooked in one pot, custom calls for it to be served in three courses (called "tres vuelcos"). Sierra serves it in two: First, a bowl of broth with pasta, followed by a platter of perfectly cooked chickpeas, a variety of wintry vegetables and falling-apart-tender pieces of meat - plus a pig's ear and slices of chorizo and blood sausage. It's like a combination of chicken noodle soup and pot roast on steroids. Consider yourself warned: Even if you're not in Spain and don't drink wine, you may still need that nap.

- Chickpeas: The legume is a classic in Spanish cooking.

- Vegetables: Hearty vegetables that can handle a long simmering time are used: Think potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots or cabbage.

- Meat: The specifics vary by cook, but you'll often find chicken thighs and legs, pork belly, pig's ear, chorizo, blood sausage and/or flank steak.

- Soup: The broth's clearness belies its deep flavor: It's cooked slowly with vegetables and hunks of meat (plus, at Joselito, the bone from an Iberico ham) that infuse every drop, and is served with short pieces of angel hair pasta.

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