Last Sunday we visited Grace and Robert again - a couple of months ago we learned how to make Grace’s delicious Carne con Papas – but this time Roberto taught us how to make his famous Caldo Gallego. OH. MY. GOD! It is so good , particularly when it’s a little cold outside as it was on Super Bowl Sunday.
Here's Roberto - our teacher for the day
Caldo Gallego is a traditional Cuban dish with origins in Galicia, Spain. It is comfort food for many because it’s so warm and hearty. You can serve Caldo Gallego in a small bowl as a soup course, but most often it is served in a big bowl as the main meal because it contain greens, beans and meat. Don’t let the amount of fat used fool you, the beans and collard greens make it a relatively healthy meal.
Since it takes a long time to make, it is best to make large quantities and freeze the remainders – it gets better with time. And again, because it takes quite a while and requires some prep work – lots of peeling and cutting – do what we did and get together with a few friends. Be sure the wine is good and plentiful and that you have some “saladitos” for sustenance during the hard work – we had ham and manchego cheese canapés along with fresh fruit.
8 quarts of water
3 lbs dried Great Northern Beans
5 lbs potatoes – peeled and chunked
3 lbs turnips – peeled and chunked
4 lbs flank steak – cut into large pieces
5 lbs bone-in-ham – cut into large pieces
2 lbs bacon slices (sliced bacon slab or pancetta can also be used)
6 oz. salt pork (or pork leaf fat called “unto” in Spanish) – rinsed and cut up
10 Spanish chorizos
2 bunches of collard greens – washed well and shredded
- NOTE: This is what the "unto" or salt pork/pork leaf fat looks like in the package.
This recipe makes approximately 20 servings.
- Soak the beans between 6 and 8 hours.
- Peel and chunk potatoes and turnips.
- Cut the flank steak and the ham – save the ham bone.
- Add all the ingredients, including the ham bone – except the collard greens - to the beans and water.
- Bring to a boil - it doesn't look pretty, but it's OK - it'll get better.
- Set temperature to medium and cook until the beans are ready - approximately 90 minutes.
- NOTE: At this point the broth will be a reddish-orange because of the chorizo. Don’t panic! It will change color once the greens are added.
- Wash, shred and add the collard greens.
- Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove the flank steak pieces, the ham pieces, the chorizo and the ham-bone and serve on a separate platter.
The finished product
Serve with crusty bread - preferably Cuban - and a hearty Rioja wine.