Caldo Gallego is an exciting, flavor-rich Spanish soup, with wonderful ingredients. It gives great warmth to body and soul. In the north of Spain, in the province of Galicia, this soup is a favorite for warding off the chill of Winter. It’s pure comfort food, with exceptionally delicious results. Just let it cook, and the ingredients will do the work for you. Make sure the water you use is as pure as possible.
- 3/4 Cup dried white beans
- 1/4 pound smoked ham hocks
- 1/4 pound lean smoked bacon or salt pork; in one thick slice
- 8 Cups pure water
- 1/2 medium yellow onion; sliced
- 1/2 small white or Savoy cabbage head
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
- 3 medium turnips
- a few turnip greens
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 chorizo sausages, cut into coin-size slices
- Pour cold water over beans, ham, and bacon in an earthenware pot.
- Cover and barely simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Add the sliced onion and the cabbage, turnips, potatoes and turnip tops, all chopped in fairly large pieces.
- Mix, but stir as little as possible in order not to bruise the beans. The soup is best left to cook on its own, with minimal stirring.
- Salt and pepper to taste, add sliced chorizo and simmer 1 1/2 hours more. Serve in large soup bowls with meat cut in bite-size pieces.
Comments: This is a peasant version of 'caldo' as described to me by the owner of the excellent Galician restaurant Oscar in Madrid -- a far-from-peasant restaurant.
In Galicia, the base of all 'caldos' is 'unto' an aged bacon sometimes three, four, or five years old. The smoked ham and bacon or salt pork are suggested as American substitutes and are used as substitutes in Spain outside of Galicia.