Caldo Gallego

Total Time:
2 hr 50 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
2 hr 30 min

Yield:
About 3 quarts
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish olive oil
  • 1 smoked ham hock, skin scored
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups dried white beans, such as navy, rinsed and soaked in cold water overnight
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and large-diced
  • 1 pound turnip tops, rinsed well and coarsely chopped (substitute spring or savoy cabbage if you cannot find turnip greens)
  • 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced crosswise
Directions

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the ham hock, onions, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until slits of ham hock have begun to open and vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, to taste, and paprika and cook for 1 minute longer. Add 9 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Drain the white beans and add them to the pot. Return to a simmer and continue to cook at a simmer until beans are just beginning to get tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove the ham hock and, when cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the hock and shred into bite size pieces. (Discard skin and bones.) Return the meat to the pot along with the remaining salt (or to taste), potatoes, turnip greens, and chorizo and continue to cook until beans have broken down slightly, potatoes and greens are very tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove the bay leaf and serve hot.

Note: you may have to add a bit more water if the soup gets too thick during the lengthy cooking time.


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    This recipe is completely wrong. The other reviewers are correct. There are no peppers in caldo gallego. The greens should be collards or kale.  
     
    Also, it's incredibly offensive that this is listed as a Mexican dish. This soup originates in Galicia, the northwest region of SPAIN. It's a completely different continent.
    Hi Emril,
     
     I don't know if I should be happy that you are featuring this very important Galician staple or if I should cry. While I can appreciate your take on Caldo Gallego, and that you have copywritten your version of it... this really is not Caldo Gallego and I would ask that you modify the title of this recepie, please. It is misleading.
     
     The basics of this recipie really go very far back. As dar back as the Celtiberians.
     
     A few things are wrong here:
     
     1- Turnip Tops? I am guessing that you mean rapini. While it is possible to make Caldo with rapini... the typical version is with kale. Kale grown and available year round in Galicia.
     2- Unto - Caldo Gallego calls for unto. It is a galician tradition (taken from out celtic origins) to salt the pork belly in a round form and then smoke it. Once ready, you actually can do 1 of 2 things
     a) cut a piece and fry it to take out the flavour
     b) add a piece directly to the caldo
     This gives the caldo it's unique flavour. Actually, most of the gallegos I know would tell you "no unto, no caldo".
     3- Peppers?
     
     I am sorry, but this is not true Caldo Gallego.
     
    If you do not use Unto, it is not Caldo Gallego. My mom was a excellent cook and she would make it with Savoy cabbage, also. I cannot find unto on line so I have to have a family member send it to me from a New York City Spanish Grocery. My mom along with my Aunt would make it but they are both deceased.
    My mother and all of my decendants are from the region of Galicia, Spain , where this dish originated, and this is how she and her mother always prepared it. It is delicious and extremely nutritious, so enjoy: This dish cannot be accomplished without its main ingredrient - collard greens. So, use one turnip and add plenty of chopped collard greens with the potatoes. Do not use green pepper and make sure to use plenty of garlic and navy beans only. You must also always add Spanish chorizo. The single most overlooked ingredient necessary in this dish is called "unto," which is dried aged pork belly, and can be found only in Spanish/Latin groceries stores or on-line.
    The soup was really great! I used turnips only because I had them. Instead of the turnip greens or cabbage I used spinach. We like our vegestables barely cooked so I just put the spinach into the serving dish and ladled soup over it. I did put the turnips in when I added the potatoes. I will diffently be making this soup again! I did forget to soak my beans the night before, so I quick soaked them, and they came out just fine.
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