As you’re here in Madrid, learning Spanish, you’ll probably want to learn more about comida madrileña (Madrid food)

One of the platos típicos (typical dishes) from the city and region is the cocido madrileño which is a type of carne (meat), verduras (vegetables) and garbanzo (chickpea) stew cooked in a tasty caldo (broth). Let’s take a look at where this tasty meal comes from and how it’s prepared.

The origins of cocido madrileño date back to la edad media (the Middle Ages), when it was considered a poor man’s meal. Back then, the stew was made with whatever cheap and readily available ingredients could be found, such as chickpeas, vegetables, and offal meats. The actual origin of the plato (dish) is unclear. There are several theories about it having evolved from the Sephardi Jewish dish of adafina (a lamb-based stew with similar ingredients), whereas other ideas include an evolution of la olla podrida (the rotten pot) which is another cocido (stew) from the Castilla region to which Madrid historically belongs. Regardless, over time, the dish evolved and became a popular meal among the working class in Madrid. 

Today, cocido madrileño is still a beloved dish in Madrid and can be found in many restaurants (restaurants) throughout the city and region. Many places serve cocido madrileño as a menú (set menu) often on fines de semana (weekends) when it is more traditional to eat this filling dish. Here at Hablamos, many of us have it with our families and friends at the weekend at home too and it’s a great way to spend some quality time together preparing and cooking all the delicious ingredients!

¿Cómo se hace el cocido madrileño? – How do you make cocido madrileño?

In order to make this dish, the first step is to remojar (soak) the chickpeas overnight. The next day, you must escurrir (drain) and cocer (cook) them in a large pot with agua (water) and a variety of carnes (meats), such as ternera (beef), pancetta (pork belly), cerdo (pork), morcilla (blood sausage), chorizo (a type of pork sausage) and sometimes pollo (chicken). Lots of verduras (vegetables) are also added like zanahorias (carrots), cebolla (onion), repollo (cabbage) and patatas (potatos). It’s common to add seasoning like pimentón (paprika), hoja de laurel (bay leaves) and obviously sal (salt) for extra flavour.

With all those ingredients sitting in a large olla (pot), the whole cocido is left to cocerse a fuego lento (simmer) for several hours until all the meats and vegetables are tender and the sabores (flavours) have all mixed together nicely. Now, it’s time to servir (serve) and enjoy!

¿Cómo se sirve? – How is it served?

Once you’re ready to serve, you need to poner la mesa (set the table) and get ready to use a lot of platos (plates) and cuencos (bowls) as a proper cocido madrileño is served in three sittings! Each of these is called un vuelco (a tipping out) as different parts of the cocido are removed from the olla (pot) and served separately.

The first vuelco (serving) consists of the caldo (broth) and often fideos (noodles) are served in a bowl and drunk/eaten like un primer plato (a starter). Clearly, you need to colar (strain) the broth first so that only the liquid remains and no trozos (bits) of vegetables or meat come out too!

Next, for the segundo vuelco (second serving) diners are given the verduras y garbanzos (vegetables and chickpeas). To make this part even tastier, it’s fairly common to sofreír (lightly fry) the vegetables before serving them and to add some sort of salsa de tomate (tomato sauce).

Finally, for the tercer vuelco (third serving) you get to eat all of those delicious, tender trozos de carne (pieces of meat) that were cooking away in the caldo (broth) earlier. After all this, you’re probably extremely lleno (full) and will be in need of a siesta (nap) afterwards!

Cocido madrileño is a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for a cold winter day. Its rich and flavourful broth, combined with the tender meats and vegetables, make it a satisfying dish that is sure to warm you up from the inside out. So, while you’re studying Spanish on one of our face-to-face or online courses at Hablamos, you’ve got to find the time to spend an afternoon eating a full cocido and enjoying one of the most traditional dishes this city has to offer!

Hablamos - full-on Spanish!