For all but the hottests months of the year Spanish people, especially those in the North, look forward to eating a boiled dinner called cocido. There are regional variations but cocido consists of a huge pot of garbanzos cooked with vegetables, meats and sausages. As you can imagine, it makes for a rich and flavorful broth which is served as Sopa de Cocido.
When you’re on the Camino the odds are good you’ll come across a place serving Cocido as a meal. You’ll start with a bowl of sopa de cocido and maybe a relleno, a type of dumpling. Next you’ll be served huge platters loaded with the garbanzos and vegetables and then the meat. The whole meal is washed down with plenty of good red wine and sopped up with the local bread.
If you happen to be in Astorga, you’ll see signs for Cocido Maragato. Depending on the time of year, you might appreciate the food after the climb into the city. The Maragato people are supposed to be descended from the Berbers of Northern Africa who came to Spain during the Moorish Conquest. They don’t believe this to be true…and nobody really argues with them about it. Anyway, the tradition is for cocido maragato to be served in reverse, ending with the broth. It’s believed to have started during the Napoleonic Wars when soldiers would eat the meat first in case they were called away to fight.
The Spanish are quite passionate about their traditional foods and I was quickly told that the soup pictured here wasn’t real sopa de cocido because I only used the broth from my garbanzos. For the record, I seasoned them with meat and vegetables, but that was neither here nor there. Likewise I committed the unbelievable papelón (that’s Spanish for faux pas) of adding some of my cooked garbanzos to the broth.
Compounding the error was making the rellenos from mashed garbanzos, sort of like falafel, even though this recipe uses garbanzos and bread. For these reasons this recipe is called Garbanzo Broth…not sopa de cocido. I figure a simple name change will save me from experiencing a Jamie Oliver #PaellaGate.
Now, in order to make the broth you’ll have to cook your garbanzos from dried, so make sure to set aside time to soak and cook them. For meal planning, I cooked about a pound of dried the garbanzos a couple days before and stored them and the broth in the fridge until needed. The garbanzos were seasoned with a soup bone that still had some meat on it, plenty of slightly crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves and large chunks of carrots and onions. Make sure to add plenty of water so you’ll make enough broth. I had just shy of five cups of cooked garbanzos and nearly a half gallon of broth when it was all said and done. It was easy to remove the large chunks of vegetables, etc.
Leftover rellenos can be served with a quick garlic mayo or your favorite dipping sauce.
- 2 quarts (8 cups) garbanzo broth (add water to your broth if needed)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- olive oil
- ½ cup small pasta like mini shells, broken spaghetti, stars, etc
- ½ cup cooked garbanzos
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- 2 - 3 garlic cloves
- large handful fresh parsley
- salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
- 2 cups cooked garbanzos
- 1 egg, beaten
- torn pieces of bread or bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs)
- vegetable oil for frying (I use sunflower oil)
- Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a large dutch oven and saute the onions and carrots until the onions change color.
- Add the broth plus water if needed. Heat to just below a boil and cook until the carrots are cooked through. Stir in your choice of pasta and the cooked garbanzos.
- Season the soup to taste. Simmer over low heat until the pasta is finished.
- Pulse the garlic cloves and parsley in a food processor along with salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Add the garbanzos and fresh bread if using and pulse until combined. You should see pieces of garbanzo.
- Beat the egg in a medium mixing bowl and mix in the garbanzo mixture. You should have a mix that is wet enough to hold its shape without falling apart when fried in oil. Add more bread crumbs or a teaspoon of water until you get the right consistency.
- Form into large oval shapes that fit in the palm of your hand. You should have enough mix to make six.
- To fry, heat and inch or so of oil in a small pan until very hot.
- Add the rellenos in batches and fry until golden brown, turning as necessary to get a nice color all over. Drain on paper towels.
- To serve, ladle some of the garbanzo broth into a bowl and place a relleno in the center. Garnish with some chopped parsley.
A couple notes…
Cocido is so popular in Spain you can actually buy the broth in the market. Look for Caldo de Cocido.
You may have noticed the rellenos are very similar to falafel. Feel free to add some cumin powder if you like. I stuck with garlic and parsley because I was trying to replicate the sopa de cocido.
You’ll find other recipes from the Camino Flavors series here.