Caldo Gallego finds it’s roots in Spain. Cuban cuisine is so versatile. For such a small island it really has such a diverse and wide range of influences.
Caldo Gallego is definitely a fan favorite. It’s not often found on a menu at a restaurant. So when you do find it, it’s a special treat. This isn’t the kind of recipe that you would just make on a whim. There are a few steps, and the ingredients are a little specialized. But when you do decide to do it, it’s always a winner.
Caldo Gallego is such a rich dish. The steps in this recipe really help you to build the flavor. It’s why it takes a little time. We are playing with a few instant pot variations, and will get back to you with a possible short cut. But in the mean time, taking your time with this one is worth it. The end result is really delicious.
Caldo Gallego is also a sneaky way to get the vegetables in. Ani always jokes that this recipe was one of the only times most Cuban Abuelas even cook with this many vegetables. So if you like your greens with a little bit of chorizo, this recipe is for you.
Abuela’s Caldo GallegoCourse: SoupsCuisine: CubanDifficulty: Medium
30 oz cannellini beans, (see page for bean prep or if canned then drain and rinse)
2 pounds of short ribs on the bone
1 to 1.5 pounds of pork belly, sliced in 2-inch wide strips
1 pound ham hock (two small ones or 1 large one)
3 links of chorizo, sliced thinly on the diagonal, (I like Palacios brand)
2 bay leaves
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 pound of baby potatoes, cleaned but unpeeled
2.5 cups of green cabbage, thickly sliced
15-20 leaves of Swiss or rainbow chard, sliced in ribbons
1 cup of kale, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of saffron strands (bloomed in 1 cup of warm water)
1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil
12 cups of water
- Start by making the broth. In a large pot add half the chorizo, short ribs, pork belly and ham hock with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil then drop the heat to low. Cook covered for 2.5 hours.
If you have the time, refrigerate the broth overnight. Remove the fatty layer that forms on top so you are left with just a clear broth.
- In a heavy-bottom pot add the other half of the chorizo and onions and let the chorizo fat render. Then add the oil, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Cook for 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for 3 minutes.
- On high heat, add the saffron water and saffron strands to the pot. Then add the potatoes, beans and the broth from the meat into the pot. Bring to a boil then lower to simmer.
- Cook for 30 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. If you think it needs more liquid add some water. It should be a broth. Cook for 10 more minutes minutes.
- Add all the greens when ready to serve. Continue cooking at low heat until everything is tender about another 5 minutes. Be sure to serve when the greens are still vibrant.
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.
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