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cocido madrileño (Madrid’s feast in a pot)

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Adjust Servings:
3 litres/5 pints water
750 g/1½ lb beef or veal shin or 500 g/1 lb 2 oz chuck steak, in one piece, and a beef bone
1 knuckle of jamón Serrano , or any unsmoked ham, with a little meat still attached
100 g/4 oz jamón Serrano , gammon works well outside Spain, in 1 piece
200 g/7 oz bacon or belly pork, in 1 piece
1 whole head of garlic
2 bay leaves
500 g/1 lb 2 oz chickpeas, soaked overnight
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
3 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 onion, peeled, halved and stuck with 2 cloves
1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
200 g/7 oz cooking chorizo left in whole links
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half
200 g/7 oz morcilla , or black pudding
200 g/7 oz swiss chard, spinach or cabbage
200 g/7 oz fideos , vermicelli , or other tiny pasta

cocido madrileño (Madrid’s feast in a pot)

cocido madrileño

  • Gluten Free




Many foreigners mistakenly consider Valencia’s paella (beef stew recipe) as Spain’s signature dish, but ask a local and he will say the cocido recipe  as the nation’s most traditional feast; a meal of chickpeas, meat and vegetables cooked in a flavorsome soup – three courses in one pot. Every area of Spain has its own local depiction but the king of the castle is undoubtedly the Cocido Madrileño.

Until recent times the cocido recipe was an everyday dish. Nowadays time is precious, we are all on the run and taking a day to source and prepare the family meal is long gone. The Cocido Madrileño. is a dish for high days and holidays.

You will need to soak your chickpeas overnight.

Optional trimmings:

The tiny unlaid eggs of a boiling fowl are sometimes tossed into the pot at the last minute to poach gently in the broth. These are often available in the market at the poultry stall.

On special occasions the cocido madrileño may be served with meatballs, or pelotas . A selection of the meat is taken from the pot, about 200 g/7 oz in total, and minced completely by hand or whizzed in a food processor. The mixture is seasoned with a little garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and then bound together with a couple of beaten eggs and some breadcrumbs. The pelotas are fried in olive oil and added to the pot for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time.

Regional variations of cocido madrileño:

The cocido madrileño appears, in one form or another, all over the country – a pot of chickpeas or beans, ham bones and whatever the local larder has to offer.

The famous Cocido Maragato of León is a carnivore’s delight packed with lamb, cured beef(beef stew recipe) and pork. It is topped with dumplings made from breadcrumbs and stock.

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Pour the water into a large pot, add the beef, the ham bone, the ham, the bacon, the head of garlic and the bay leaves, then bring to the boil, skimming off any of the grey foam as it comes to the surface.


Drain the chickpeas and add to the pot together with the carrots, leeks, celery and onion. Purists will add the chickpeas in a muslin bag or net so that they can be removed easily and served separately from the vegetables. I have never felt the need to. Ensure that all the ingredients are submerged in the water, then bring to the boil and skim the foam away again. Continue to cook, covered, at a steady simmer. Topping up with hot water as necessary.


After an hour add the chicken and the chorizo , and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chickpeas are almost tender.


Add the potatoes and morcilla or black pudding and then after another 10 minutes the chard or cabbage. Once the potatoes are tender then your cocido is ready. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as necessary.


After an hour add the chicken and the chorizo, and Next strain off most of the stock and boil the fideos , or pasta until tender. This soup will be served as the starter.


Chop the beef, bacon, ham, chorizo and morcilla into serving pieces and arrange them on a platter with the chicken. Pile the chickpeas and vegetables on another dish and serve.


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