Puchero is a version of the Spanish boiled dinner called “cocido”, adapted for other countries such as Argentina, Canary Islands, Mexico, Philippines, Uruguay, etc.
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.
In South America, Puchero is far more meat-based than the Spanish cocido, which relies more on chickpeas. Soup bones are added to the simmering water to enrich the flavour. Beef shank with marrow in it (“osobuco”) is particularly popular, or other beef bones with marrow. If fowl such as chicken is used, the dish is called “puchero de gallina” (“chicken puchero.”) Other meats used include bacon, pork belly, and slices of chorizo sausage. Additional ingredients include vegetables, and sometimes eggs.
In Mexico, Puchero recipes vary by region, and may contain fruit such as bananas. In central Mexico, Puchero is often served in two courses, with the broth first. This broth is called the “caldo.” It may be dressed up with some fresh coriander, chopped onion, sliced avocado, etc., and may be served with salsas and lime wedges on the side. It is also served with rice, some of which may be spooned into the soup, and tortillas.
After that, the vegetables and the meat can be served on two separate plates. The vegetables can include green beans, cobs of corn sliced into chunks, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, etc.
In California, Mexican Puchero is likely to be called “cocido.”
In the Philippines, Puchero is served as a one-dish meal. It is traditional way to use up “noche buena” (aka Christmas Eve) leftovers the next day.
There are several versions of Puchero in the Philippines. Most versions add a tomato sauce. The Cebuano version (from the Cebu area of the Philippines) doesn’t, however. It adds beef shank with the marrow in it to the stock. And, the Cebuano version is called a cocido, instead of Puchero.
“Puchero” in Spanish means a clay stewpot.
Graber, Karen Hursch. The World’s Most Versatile Stew: Puchero. Retrieved October 2009 from http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2376-the-world-s-most-versatile-stew-puchero
Hansen, Barbara. A rustic dish with flair. Los Angeles Times. 19 October 2005.