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Cocido madrileño

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Cocido madrileño is a traditional chickpea-based stew from Madrid, Spain. A substantial dish prepared with meat and vegetables, it is most popular during the winter but is served throughout the year in some restaurants. The main ingredient of cocido is the chickpea or garbanzo bean, preferibly of its larger variety (also known as kabuli). Vegetables are added: potatoes mainly, but also cabbage, carrots, and turnips. In some cases, green bean, mangold and cardoon is also added. The meat used is fundamentally pork: pork belly, usually fresh, but sometimes cured (purists insist in even a point of rancidity); fresh (unsmoked) chorizo; onion morcilla, and dried and cured jamón serrano. Beef shank is also added; the fat content (flor) of the piece is highly prized. Chicken (specially old hens) is also part of the cocido. Two bone pieces (ham bone and beef spine bone) are added to enrich the stock. The final touch is the bola, a meatball-like mix of ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley and other spices, which, it is said, was created as a substitute of the eggs used in the adafaina.

The origins of the dish are uncertain, but most sources agree that probably it was created during the Middle Ages as an evolution of the Sephardic dish adafina. The growth of anti-Semitism and the Inquisition during the 15th and 16th centuries modified the dish substantially, as the fear of being denounced as Jewish forced Christians and Marranos (converted Jews) alike to prove themselves as Christians by incorporating pork into their meals. Soon lard, bacon, chorizo (pork sausage) and morcilla (blood sausage) were added to the dish. From these origins, the recipe allowed few modifications and was soon established as a staple of Madrid cuisine.

Tradition rules that the ingredients of cocido must be served separately. Each serving is known as vuelco (overturn), as at each time the pot must be overturned to separate the ingredients. The first vuelco is the soup: the stock of the cocido is drained and noodles are cooked on it. The second vuelco are the chickpeas and the vegetables. The third vuelco is the meat.

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