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Cocido madrileño ("Madrilenian stew", Spanish pronunciation: [koˈθiðo maðɾiˈleɲo]) 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 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. Long cooking dishes were indispensable for Jews as they allowed hearty meals during Shabbat. These first versions were kosher, using eggs and without pork. Within time, adafina was soon popular elsewhere.
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. During the growth of the city in the 19th and 20th centuries, its low cost and heartiness made it a popular order in small restaurants and the taverns catering to manual workers. After the Civil War, the austerity period, followed by the introduction of more convenient meals, reduced the public popularity of the dish.
Nowadays,cocido madrileño is mostly a homemade dish for special occasions. However, most artisanal restaurants in Madrid offer a version of cocido (especially on Tuesdays) and some traditional restaurants serve it daily as a speciality.
The main ingredient of cocido is the chickpea or garbanzo bean, preferably 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 (some purists even insist to 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.
On the table
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 in it. The second vuelco are the chickpeas and the vegetables. The third vuelco is the meat. However, it can also be served all together, which is preferred by some people.
Some dishes are made with the leftovers of the cocido. Spanish croquettes are usually made with cocido stock for flavor. Ropa vieja is a fried mix of chickpeas and meat. Pringá is made with the fried meat leftovers and bread.
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