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El Cocido

This meal-in-a-pot forms the classic family feast beloved of all Spaniards, rich or poor, in every region. It is known by different names in each area, but is essentially the same dish. It comes in two parts; first you eat the broth with the noodles, then the meat and sausages, with the vegetables and chickpeas. Set the table with large soup bowls at each place.

ingredients

serves 6 - 8
250 g dried chickpeas
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for the cabbage
750 g beef brisket, rolled
500 g piece of belly pork, without skin and bones
500 g piece of smoked back bacon or shoulder
2 whole chicken legs
2 fresh bay leaves
2 small onions
6 small carrots
a bunch of small turnips
a bunch of flat leaf parsley, tied together
2 sweet chorizos (chorizo dulce)
2 morcilla, Spanish salchicha or Italian fresh pork sausages (optional)
500 g new potatoes
1 small Savoy cabbage
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, bashed until bruised and split
100 g fideos or fine vermicelli noodles
pickled mild green chillies, to serve
a large piece of muslin

method

1. The day before you want to serve the cocido, put the chickpeas in a bowl, cover well with cold water, mix in 2 teaspoons salt and leave overnight.

2. Also the day before, put the beef, belly pork, bacon, chicken legs and bay leaves in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add cold water to cover by 3 cm. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken legs (put in a bowl, cool, cover and chill). Continue cooking the other meats for 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let cool, then chill. The next day, skim the fat off the meat.

3. Drain the chickpeas and put in a saucepan with cold water to cover by 2 cm, bring to a rapid boil and, when the froth rises, add a cup of cold water and skim. Repeat once more, then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the chickpeas through a colander lined with muslin. Put one of the onions on top, then tie up the muslin into a bag.

4. Put the bag of chickpeas in a large stockpot, then add the cooked beef, pork and bacon, the other onion, carrots, turnips, parsley and stock. Slowly bring to a very gentle simmer, then continue simmering for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, bring a second saucepan of water to the boil, add the chorizos and morcilla or pork sausages and blanch for 5 minutes over low heat. Drain and add to the meats. Add the potatoes to the meats and cook everything on a very low heat for a further 30 - 45 minutes. Add the chicken for the last 20 minutes. Check to make sure everything is tender.

6. Cut the cabbage into 2.5 cm pieces, cook in a saucepan of boiling salted water for
5 minutes, then drain. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until just golden, then
remove the garlic, add the cabbage and fry for 2 minutes.

7. Remove 1.2 litres of stock from the meats, transfer to a saucepan, add the fideos, bring to the boil, cook for 5 minutes, then pour into a tureen to serve.

8. Cut up the meats and sausages and put them on a serving platter. Take the meat off the chicken and add to the platter. Add the turnips and carrots. Put the chickpeas on a second plate and add the cabbage. Put everything on the table and let everyone help themselves

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