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This is my grandmothers recipe for "Caldo Gallego" which originates from Galicia, Spain. ... sorry my grandmothers does this a bit Cubanized (I like/ love things to be Cubanized though) because we use "Annato Seed Powder" or "Bijol" in most dishes and exclude "saffron" and use tomato often to give either a redish or yellow color to stews most Spanish I noticed won't include "bijol" or "tomato" to give "Caldo Gallego" a color besides white, that and some other stuff you'll see later. None the less this recipe is a great version of "Caldo Gallego" it is my grandmothers version (she is originally from Madrid, Spain and settled in Cuba and now resides in USA). It is flavorful with the right amount of everything and very satisfying. Also if anybody wants to see another good version of the Caldo Gallego done by a good Spanish cook check here: http://recipespicbypic.blogspot.com/2008/05/caldo-gallego-with-gigantes-greek.html Also if anybody is interested further in Galician cooking check out "La Cocina de Lechuza" (the blog is in Spanish though): http://lacocinadelechuza.blogspot.com/
|2||cups Cannellini beans ("Alubias Blancas"/ "Judias Blancas")|
|2-3||small smoked ham hock scored or bone in smoked ham|
|1||whole square salt pork|
|2||Spanish Chorizos (Chorizo Español, I used a "El Miño" brand popular among Cubans)|
|½-1||medium sized square of "Salted Pork" like UNCUT bacon (I can't get "Unto Gallego" here)|
|1||pork or beef stew meat (optional)|
|4||small or 2 big russet potatoes|
|1||large bunch of "Swiss Chard" about 1 lbs. (about 4 cups or so I don't know)|
|1||whole onion minced|
|1||whole green bell pepper minced|
|6||cloves garlic pressed and minced (DONT USE LESS THAN THAT FOR THIS!)|
|1||large tomato grated on the second smallest part of the grater or 1 8 oz can tomato sauce|
|1||teaspoon "Bijol" (optional, use only if your not using the tomato so it can still get some color)|
|1||teaspoon ground cumin|
|2||teaspoon salt or less to taste (be careful don't over salt te ham, salted pork, and sausage are salty)|
|Generous amounts of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil|
1)Soak beans and smoked ham hock overnigh atleast 12 hours in lots of water in a large pot. (2)Next day pour out water and rinse beans and ham hock well, leave beans in the large pot, in a seperate pot boil ham hocks for 30 minutes, drain and rinse (this is to get rid of excess saltiness). (3)Now put ham hocks together with beans, add the "salted pork", add enough water to submerge the ham hocks and "salted pork", bring to a boil, add pork or beef meat if using cover and lower heat to medium low and simmer for 50- 60 minutes. DO NOT UNCOVER! OR IT MAY TAKE LONGER. When done turn off heat until your ready to add everything else. (4)Mean while prepare everything else that you'll need later, wash and peel potatoes, cut into large pieces, leave in cold water so they don't discolor, (5)Wash swiss chard well, cut into pieces, remove any ugly parts set aside. (6)Take the casings of the chorizo and cut into semi-thick slices, set aside along with garlic, bell pepper, onions, tomatoes and have spices on hand. (7)When stew has been cooking 50- 60 minutes, turn off like I said before (you don't wanna overcook the beans) , until ready to do the rest. (8)Make "sofrito" heat generous amounts of extra-virgin olive oil on medium heat, add chorizo slices when oil sizzles with it a bit, wait until the chorizo releases some of it's fat and infuses with the oil. Now add bell peppers and onions sautee until translucent and caramelized. (9)Add garlic and sautee until garlic is fragrant and sweet DONT LET IT BURN! Now add the grated tomato (optional) and bring to a boil, now add to the stew. Stir well, add ground cumin, extra-salt if necessary, and potatoes. Bring to a boil for 20 mintues until potatoes are tender. (10) Stir in "Swiss Chard" boil for about 5 mintes or wilted, turn of heat. (11)Here is the final stuff, take out ham hocks, and with a fork, knife and even hands, seperate into bite size pieces, so you can add some ham pieces to the stew when serving (we do this because my Dad doesnt like the soft texture of fatty ham and chewy skin neither does my sister but me, my mom, and my grandma do!) or leave whole and there and 3 lucky people can eat one all to themselves (12)Now pull out salted pork, cut into small chunks, you can throw it back in the pot for some tasty chewy fatty pork or throw it out or heat a pan with nothing on medium add it to the pan, cover with something, move around every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes until it renders it's fat, drain some fat after the 1o minutes and so on, until it is crispy. Set aside and garnish stew with this when serving. HOPE YOU ENJOY MY GRANDMOTHERS "CALDO GALLEGO! Serve with a raw salad, some crusty bread or instead of bread a nice bowl or plate of white rice on the side. Oh and if desired some dessert to top this hardy meal.
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