Spaniards really know how to do soup so it feels like a meal. This one, from senior contributor Alex Province, is layered with flavor. With multiple parts of the pig here, a number of those flavor layers are decidedly porky, but there’s chicken and beef, too.
ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith and the gang discuss this recipe on The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze®.
This soup is meant to fill you up! But, there’s also a fresh component. Turnip greens (yes, the greens!), collards, Swiss chard, cabbage, and a full pound of potatoes make this stew-like Spanish classic a hearty, soul-warming meal.
Photos: Alex Province
- 1 pound white beans (Cannellini, Navy, or Great Northern)
- 12 ounces salt pork (rinsed)
- 1 large beef shank
- 2 pounds bone-in country -style pork ribs
- 1 pig's ear (or 1 pound pork soup bones)
- 2 whole chicken legs
- 2 Spanish chorizo sausage links (cured or fresh)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 bunch turnip greens
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 small cabbage
- kosher salt
- Soak beans overnight and rinse.
- In a large stockpot add beans, salt pork, and enough cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover and bring to boil.
- Add beef shank, pork ribs, the pig’s ear, and chicken legs, and reduce heat to a medium simmer, and continue cooking covered for 1-1/2 hours. Then add chorizo and continue cooking covered for another hour. (Add water as necessary to maintain 1-2 inches of liquid above beans and meat).
- After about 2-1/2 hours of cooking, carefully remove the meats and any bones that may have fallen off. The chorizo can be cut up and added back to the soup. Season with salt. (Add water if necessary).
- Next peel potatoes and cut into medium chunks. Thoroughly wash greens (removing any thick stems), and tear into large pieces. Finally cut cabbage in half.
- Now, carefully layer the potatoes on top of the beans, then squeeze the greens on top of the potatoes, and jam the cabbage in along the sides. (It will look absurdly full). Use the lid to slowly push greens into the pot and cover best you can. (As the greens cook down, gently close the lid). Continue to gently simmer for an additional hour.
- After 3-1/2 hours of total cooking time, the beans should be very soft, the potatoes fork tender, and the greens should have completely wilted down into the soup. Season with salt if necessary. Serve in a large soup bowl along side a chunk of hearty bread.
Wondering what to do with the meats after straining the broth? Here's a note from Alex on what he does: Typically in a Spanish cocido the cooked meats would be pulled out and deboned, then served alongside the soup with some nice crusty bread. I however, like my mom, add the cleaned and picked-through meat directly back into the soup, right before serving. By “cleaned and picked-through meat” I mean I carefully remove any fat, skin, cartilage, bone, or basically anything not appetizing before adding the meat back into the soup.
linda clark says
escorale soup is delicious. my grandmother would make it often. sautee small onion and large amont of fresh escorale in a pan with olive oil.add chicken broth about 32 oz or more, simmer, add carrots 2-3 medium. simmer for 30 min or more, season with salt and pepper to your liking serve wih orzo pasta al’dente in each bowl. donot put pasta in the pan of soup it can absorb all the soup enjoy!
linda clark says
i am going to make this caldo gallego soup
Great on a cold day it’s a great hearty comfort dish
Made this excellent “soup” (so much more than soup) yesterday. Had a leftover pork shoulder on the bone that I substituted for the ribs. A lot of ingredients and time, but well worth the effort. This is a keeper. Delicious!
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Thanks! Alex will be thrilled you enjoyed this as much as he does.
Russ Elgin says
I liked Tom’s comment that it was “so much more than a soup.” A number of years ago I was staying in a wonderful, small, family-run hotel in Galicia. The owners’ son had just written an English translation of their new menu. He asked me to proofread it. He had translated Caldo Gallego as Galician Broth. (In dictionaries caldo is translated as broth.) I said to him that most English speakers would think it was similar to consommé. We decided to call it Hearty Galician Soup. Wonderful for a cold winters evening with slices of country bread.
Other than the chorizo, does any if the cooked meat go back into the soup?
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Hi Lisa. Good question. Here’s Alex’s response, and I’ll add it as a “recipe note” for anyone else who might also be wondering. From Alex: Typically in a Spanish cocido the cooked meats would be pulled out and deboned, then served alongside the soup with some nice crusty bread. I however, like my mom, add the cleaned and picked-through meat directly back into the soup, right before serving. By “cleaned and picked-through meat” I mean I carefully remove any fat, skin, cartilage, bone, or basically anything not appetizing before adding the meat back into the soup.
Mariae Villamil says
Sorry but that is a Cuban version of caldo Gallegos, galician broth. The gallician broth is made with a big piece smoke pork shoulder, small white beans, salty belly pork cured, collar greens and turnips. Remember the turnips were the european potatoes before, being in te produce the potatoes from the Americas. No meat, no potatoes, not cabbage, no sausage, not ears of pork, and not blood sausage. Why because is a broth. It cant be creamy and too many meats, because the broth became rancid. Put the soaked beans with water, smoke pork shoulder, the salty belly pork cured, is called UNTO in spanish and not to much, because the broth become rancid. When the beans are not bland nor hard you add the collar greens not frozen, but buy fresh, and the turnips. Continue cooking, NO SEASONING. When everything is mixed together, you have a healthy gallician broth, not thick or liquid, at the end one spoon of olive oil. The most delicious caldo gallego, make a Spanish potato omelet and bread. The best simple inexpensive food, very feeling. The broth taste delicious. As l said the other version is a CUBAN one or, the one that is made in ASTURIAS IS CALLED FABADAS ASTURIANAS. I, AS A GOOD GALLICIAN PREFER MY FATHER VERSION FROM THE MOUNTAINS. HOPE YOU LIKE IT
Robyn Doyon-Aitken says
Thanks for sharing your father’s version!
Alejandro Ordóñez says
I am an “old school” second generation Cuban with all-Spanish grandparents. Although my heritage is Asturian, my parents were somewhat “sticklers” for authenticity. I agree with Mariae that Alex’s caldo gallego recipe is more of a Cuban version. My parents always stressed that the caldo gallego, as well as other Spanish bean dishes evolved into “thicker”, potage-like versions in Cuba. I was also taught that both versions are delicious, brothy or thick, depending what you are looking for. I think of the Galician broth as soup served before the main dish, whereas the Cuban version is more of a meal onto itself. Many Cuban restaurants will serve a small portion of the Cuban-style caldo gallego prior to the main course.
Francine Mastini says
This is my comfort food. It brings me right back to the days of walking the Camino de Santiago and this soup was there in Galicia at the end of the day.