Cocido - Braised Mixed Meats and Chickpeas

, from Issue #20. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Cocido - Braised Mixed Meats and Chickpeas

This traditional dish from Madrid is enjoyed all year round. It is cooked in an earthenware pot which is brought to the table. The first course is the broth from the stew which is poured over short, thin noodles to make a soup. Afterwards the meats, chickpeas and vegetables are served as the main course.

Serves: 6


1 ham or bacon hock
600 gram piece free-range, boneless pork belly, skin on, cut into 4 pieces
600 grams beef shin
3 free-range or organic chicken marylands (leg and thigh)
2 fresh, spicy chorizo sausages
1 onion, studded with 4 cloves
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, left whole, lightly crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
2 x 400 gram tins cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 medium carrots, peeled and halved
1 large floury potato, peeled and roughly chopped

To finish
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 whole cloves garlic, skin on
½ a small savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
150 grams very thin pasta noodles, eg vermicelli, cooked


Put the ham hock, pork belly and beef shin, onion and bay leaves in a very large saucepan or stock pot. The chicken and chorizo are added later. Wrap and tie the garlic and peppercorns in a piece of muslin and add to the pot. Mix the salt, tomato paste and smoked paprika together and stir in ½ cup of cold water to make a smooth paste. Add to the saucepan along with enough cold water to generously cover the meats. Bring to the boil and skim off any foam that comes to the surface. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 1½ hours. Add the chicken, chorizo sausages, chickpeas, carrots and potato. Simmer for 40 minutes. Taste the broth, it should be very well flavoured. Add more sea salt and freshly ground pepper if needed.

To finish: Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and gently cook the garlic cloves until tender. Remove. Add the cabbage, season and stir fry until just tender.

To serve: Divide the cooked noodles between small soup bowls. Ladle over some of the broth and serve as the first course.

Transfer the meats, chickpeas and vegetables to a large, deep serving platter. Cut the larger pieces of meat into portions and pull the meat off the ham hock. Discard the muslin bag and onion. Stir the flat-leaf parsley into the remaining hot broth and pour over enough to just moisten the meats. Serve with the whole garlic cloves and cabbage. 

Cook's Tip: The Cocido can be cooked up to 2 days in advance. Cool quickly by placing the pot in a sink of cold water and stirring occasionally until cool. Cover and refrigerate. The broth will solidify into a jelly and the fat which will settle on the top can easily be removed. Reheat slowly and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the flat-leaf parsley just before serving.