I’ve been thinking about how much I miss cocido ever since I left Madrid in May. They used to serve it at the school I worked at on special occasions. The stewed meats were arranged in a colorful spectrum — from the opalescent pork belly to the black morcilla.
It was the morcilla, a Spanish blood sausage, that really got me hooked on cocido. Where was I ever going to find it around here in Michigan? A few weeks ago someone told me about a Ukrainian import store in Farmington. It’s called New York Imports and it’s at the corner of Fourteen Mile and Orchard Lake. The guy who told me about it is a Catholic seminarian from Ukraine and when he was giving me directions he said, “It’s at Fourteen and Mobile.” I tried Google Maps to find a street called Mobile that intersected with Fourteen Mile but it turned out he was talking about a Mobile gas station. Anyway, it turned out this place had кишка, blood sausage, and it seemed like a good substitute for morcilla. They also had chunks of unrendered pork fat with some little black pig hairs still sticking out of it. The kyshka was $6/lb. and the salo was a little cheaper.
On the way home I bought some leeks, chorizo, smoked trotters, and some raw turkey wings from Westborn Market. The nice guy who helped me find endives at Christmas time was there bagging again. I had intended to write the management a letter praising him for being so helpful but I guess it wound up with the letter I was going to write to the local public library questioning the lack of linguistics books or the letter I was going to write to a local restaurant demanding they rename their spiciest Buffalo wing sauce (they call it “suicide sauce”).
I had already soaked the garbanzo beans over night and they were ready to go. I had been thinking that I could have just used canned beans but then I realized they wouldn’t have absorbed all the caldo flavor and they would have been mushy.
So then I took a giant pot and filled it up with water and started simmering the pork fat, turkey, and trotters with 6 cloves of garlic, a couple of bay leaves, and some pepper corns. I made sure to skim off the scum (even though I don’t know what’s wrong with the scum — by the way, I was watching Private Dicks: Men Exposed and I learned that a scumbag originally meant a condom). I let it simmer for an hour and then dumped in the soaked chick peas. I added some saffron and raw white onion too. I left it on low until the meat was tender and the chick peas were nice and soft.
Above are the meats I used. On the little plate there is a blood sausage and some chorizo and on the bigger plate you will see the fat, turkey, and the smoked ham hock.
So I still needed to take care of the chorizo and the morcilla. I put half of a savoy cabbage and a leek in a smaller pot of lightly salted water and then dropped the chorizo on top of the vegetables and simmered it all for about 30 minutes. Just before everything was ready I fried the blood sausage in pan with olive oil and some crushed garlic.
This is how it all looked plated on a vuelca-tortillas that my friend Aida gave me.
And here is an extreme close up.