We couldn’t write about Galicia without including a recipe for caldo gallego, the traditional, restorative soup of Galicia. With a little bread, you’ve got a great meal on your hands. María’s version was especially good, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she grows her own greens. This soup is even better the next day.
NotesGRELOS: Grelos are turnip greens. They’re slightly bitter—like broccoli rabe—but very tender when braised. They’re wonderful sautéed in olive oil with a bit of garlic and are the star in caldo gallego. They grow all over Galicia, and you are likely to see patches of the greens in most backyards.
UNTO: Unto is a cured pork belly product, sort of like the Spanish version of pancetta. We couldn’t seem to find it anywhere outside of Galicia. There it’s used as the base for caldo gallego and is why, I think, caldo gallego tastes better in Galicia than anywhere else you might be served it.
4 to 6 servings
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
Recipe Coursehot appetizer, main course
Taste and Texturemeaty, savory, smoky
Type of Dishhot soup
- ½ pound thickly sliced pancetta or slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 cup dried white beans, soaked overnight in water to cover
- 1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 turnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- ½ pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 pound turnip greens (or other dark leafy green), stemmed and coarsely chopped
Cook the pancetta in a large heavy pot over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the beans, add them to the pot, along with enough water to cover them by 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam, then lower the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beans are beginning to soften.
Add the onion, potatoes, and turnips and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the chorizo and greens and cook for 10 minutes, or until the greens are tender.
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