Cocido Espanol is a Spanish version of a boiled dinner.
Unlike New England boiled dinners, the broth is meant to be eaten, either as a separate course, or by serving the simmered ingredients in it, like a stew.
Cocido Espanol is based on meat, beans or pulses and vegetables, but really, the main ingredient is usually chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans.) These are soaked in water first, then added to meat and soup bones which have been simmering in water to make a broth. Vegetables and some sausage are then added, along with flavouring ingredients such as celery, leek and parsley.
When all the ingredients are cooked, the stock is drained off and turned into a soup with soup pasta or rice in it. The solid ingredients are served on a platter for people to serve themselves from. Sometimes, the soup is served first, then the vegetables and chickpeas, and then finally the meat, making three courses.
The soup bones are not served; they were just added to ensure a rich-tasting stock.
The sausage used can be morcilla blood sausage, chorizo or both. The meats can be chicken, pork, pork belly, etc. There are also versions for fast days when meat is not allowed; these versions can be made with salted cod or salted congereel.
The vegetables are often wedges of cabbage, carrots and potatoes, though chard, turnip, and squash may be present as well.
There are many regional versions of Cocido Espanol. Cocido Montañes, for instance, uses white beans instead of chickpeas.
Cocido Espanol is not the same as versions of Mexican cocido made in Mexico or California, where it is also called “puchero.”
Many attribute the origins of Cocido Espanol to a Jewish dish that was allowed to simmer all day on the Sabbath, but boiled dinners have been so common throughout Europe’s history that it strains credibility to attribute them to one single origin, as nice as the story is.
Louie, Elaine. One Pot. New York Times. 30 January 2008.
Mendel, Janet. My kitchen in Spain: 225 authentic regional recipes. Frances Lincoln ltd. 2005. Page 109.