Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cocido Salvadoreño (Salvadorian Beef and Vegetable Stew)

This stew is a very healthy, nutritious and nourishing, it is a stew with beef bone and meat, with a large variety of different colored hardy veggies and for some body some starchy plantain, cassava root, and potatoes. Sure to revive anyone and make you feel stronger. As they say in spanish, "Levanta muertos" (raises the dead). Ha ha.

This recipe is from a Salvadorian family friend, we call her "Tita" and she cooks amazing delicious food, she is elderly and kind, when I learn from her it's like learning from a grandmother. Her cooking though she cooks Salvadorian many of her dishes are unique to her because they are clearly strongly Spanish influenced because her grandparents from both sides of the family are Spaniard born, both her parents where born in El Salvador from Spaniard immigrants, it is even evident in her speech which I find interesting because she uses typical Salvadorian word usage and slang but her accent is Castillion so I have fun listining to her :)

I also have a 1/2 sister (media hermana) from my father's side whom is 1/2 Salvadorian and 1/2 Cuban Spanish, she also makes this Cocido but she does it differently (she probably won't read this so I feel safe to say that I find Titas version to be tastier than my sisters ha ha, my sister's is more straight forward and excludes some stuff that I feel give it more "oomph") also she doesn't do much cooking anyways, and heck she doesn't read my blog shame on her ha ha she would probably learn a thing or two about our culinary heritage (atleast our Cuban and Spanish side) you know I believe you can know a culture very well and preserve it through their/ your food :)

-3 limes and salt (to clean meat)
-2 1/2 lbs. of beef shank cut into large chunks fat left on
-3 lbs. of beef bone with meat
-1 bay leaf
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon chicken or beef bouillon (about 1 cube?)
-salt to taste
-3 celery stalks cut into large chunks
-4 large tomatoes chopped into 4 large pieces
-1 large green bell pepper cut into 4 large pieces or just halved
-1 large onion cut in half
-7 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
-4 carrots peeled and cut into 3 sections (leave in big chunks)
-2 medium chayotes, cut into 4 large pieces each
-1 small bag of frozen cassava root (yucca) or 2 fresh yucca
-4 small potatoes, peeled and left whole (or 2 large ones halved)
-2 fresh peeled corn cobs (each cut into 3 sections)
-3 yellow plantains well washed with soap cut into 4 sections PEEL LEFT ON! Or else it will disintegrate into the soup)
-2 cups of green beans. stems removed (optional, I didn't have any on hand)
-3 Italian Squashes/ zucchini (cut into 3 sections)
-1/2 head of cabbage (cut into 4 large sections)
-1 bunch of spinach cut in 1/2 (well cleaned and rinsed several times)
-1 large bunch of cilantro well washed and coarsely chopped
-more salt to taste if needed
Extra Ingredients:
-additional fresh cut limes to squeeze over soup when serving

(1)In a large bowl wash meat and bones and drain several times, squeeze in lime juice, and add a lot of salt, rub the meat and slowly add more water wash meat with limes and water, then drain and rinse again. (you will do this about 7 times) rinse meat well until you wash away the lime and salt.

(2)In a really large pot (I mean really big) bring to a boil enough water to submerge meat about 6-7 inches in water. When water comes to boil add meat, let boil for a bit maybe 5-10 minutes, when the scum from the meat comes up, remove it, scoop it out.

(3)Once most scum rises up (very little will because we washed meat so well), now add chicken/beef bouillon, salt to taste, bay leaves, black pepper, ground cumin, celery, onion, tomato, garlic, and green bell pepper. Cover and boil on medium low for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

(4)Check meat for tenderness keeping in mind it will cook for another 30 minutes with the stuff added later. You should have a golden rich stock. Now add carrot, chayote, yuca, corn, potatoes, green beans (if using optional) and plantain. Let it boil 15-20 minutes

(5)Now after 15- 20 minutes add cabbage, squash/ zucchini, cilantro, and spinach cook add salt to taste if neseccary and cover let boil for about 10 minutes.

(6)Turn off heat your done, serve in large bowls, with some freshly squeezed lime and if desired a hot sauce on the side to add in on your own serving plate.

-Everything for this stew should be cut in really large chunks, it's a hardy soup, the chunks are large you should only need 1 piece of each thing and broth to fill your bowl. It is purposely like this.
-The plantains after cooked are usually taken out and peeled, people add it to their stews from the plate.
-If you over cook some veggies may disintegrate, nevertheless don't get upset it's still delicious :)

-Chances are if you do this late for dinner you'll be to tired to put away the stew or it might be to big and you don't want to take up space, here is a helpful tip I learned from my mother I don't know the scientific explanation, but if you don't want it to spoil but still leave it out for the night do this.
(1)Bring it to a strong boil (it has to boil evenly), after it comes to a strong boil let it boil atleast 5 minutes.
(2)Turn of heat DO NOT TOUCH AND DO NOT STIR IT LEAVE IT ALONE, DON'T MOVE IT, for some reason the next day it will not be spoiled the next day, but if you touch it and stir it will spoil, pretty cool isn't it.
(3)This trick works with any type of bean stew and other stews, when you ready to eat again, bring to boil and consume :)
-This is a large recipe, we like this soup so we have it for like 2 days, if you wish cut the recipe in 1/2 more and use your judgment.


vageena said...

you should have given me the chayote so i could put it in a paper bag along with maybe two or three more chayote and let them sprout. I will have my chayote plant. love your corn soup.

Nathan said...

Ha ha ha funny name (I swear your so vulgar sometimes!), I know it's you Shan! It's not a corn soup dork ha ha! I'll give you cash for seeds for Christmas :)

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels said...

This is like sancocho from the Dominican Republic, which I love, though I don't think they ever use cabbage. I was fascinated by the leaving-out-overnight method. I wonder what the science is behind it.

Núria said...

Seguro que levanta a los muertos!!!! Vaya, vaya... there's everything in there!!!!

Un chiste muy malo para tí: Mama, mama, el abuelo está malo. Y la mamá dice: pues déjalo a un lado y cómete el resto de la sopa!

A mean and bad one, si?
Nathan, me voy de viaje y no sé cuando podré enviar la Zarzuela. Algún día será...

Marilyn said...

Hi Nathan,
Looks kind like our Ajiaco.
Yo hago Ajiaco every winter, llevare la receta a mi blog.
Ya recogistes el premio?

Nathan said...

I asked one of my friends she told me it has something to do with germs are transported by air and motion and if the stew boils it get's sterilized then if it is untouched and unstirred nothing goes in because no air flows in? I don't know not sure what her explanation was, but that method is used commonly in Mexico especially back in the day with no refridgeration where everything is bought on a daily basis.

Ha ha, funny joke but so dark and sinister ha ha (don't worry I have a sick sense of humour sometimes to :) About the Zarzuela, it's fine I can wait but when you send it I want your mother's recipe :D

Yeah it reminds me of our Ajiaco, but it's more similar to the Mexican Cocido which has the same veggies minus the yuca and platano.
In my house I made Ajiaco but my parents don't like Tasajo much (only me and my grandmother love some good ol' Tasajo especially a good "Aporreado de Tasajo con unos Moros y Yuca Con Mojo" that is a great combination! I was thinking of making it with "Bistec de Falda" instead of Tasajo for them. Looking forward to your Ajiaco, this year I attempted my first Ajiaco and I ruined it because a lot of veggies disintegrated into the stew and I didn't have the assistance of my grandmother. (It was my first Ajiaco)

Anonymous said...

El hueso de cola es el mejor para esta sopa solo que puedes cocerlo el dia anterior para quitar la grasa y para asegurarse que se ablande. La 'sopa de res' como se le llama en El Salvador no lleva especies solo el sabor del hueso y los vegetales. Mi mama le pone alguna hierbas como cilantro, hierba buena, o tambien apio. El repollo(cabbage) se pone en pedazos grandes y encima para que quede entero o sobre cocido.

Nathan said...

Gracias por la visita, eso de la hierba buena se oye requisimo pa' la proxima lo preparo asi, y claro la cola de res le da un gusto requisimo a los caldos, na'mas que es un poco cara por aqui asi que uso hueso de res, y chamorros grandes de res troceados igual de rico.