Caldo Gallego


Yahoo!  The garden is making its way into the kitchen.

Aren’t those some yummy looking greens that Rogelio is harvesting?  They are called Nabizas.  Basically, they are a turnip that develops the leaf instead of the root.  And they are the key ingredient in a yummy stew called Caldo Gallego.

This is compango, the key ingredient in most Spanish stews.

Compango is a triplet attack of artery clogging fats; chorizo sausage, blood sausage, and just plain old white fat.  The three together are so key they are sold together in packages and are a staple in all Spanish kitchens.

So I catch myself saying things like this:

Rogelio, would you stop by the store for a few things?  We are out of bread, milk and pig fat.”

Oh, how my life has changed.

That bit of fat looks more like bacon.  It actually contains some bits of meat.  I look for that feature when shopping for fat. And I only add token bits of the stuff, although I must admit, it does add flavour.

Caldo Gallego is classic poor folk food.  Legumes are cheap.  Nabizas are weeds.  The compango gives the taste of meat without the expense of actual animal products.  Poor folk food is often the healthiest, yummiest stuff around.

Of course, it is possible to go overboard on the compango.

When Rogelio’s Mom makes Caldo Gallego she doesn’t skimp on the fat.  A hunk of each type , about the size of a telephone, floats in the pot.  She isn’t keen on vegetables.  So while the rest of us scarf down legumes and greens, she always mutters that she isn’t hungry and pushes her plate away.  Then afterwards, she takes the pure white fat out of the bottom of the pot and spreads a huge slab onto a piece of white bread.

Not my idea of a yummy snack, but what do I know.

So if you are dying to make a weed and fat stew, this is what you need.  A big pot of pre-soaked and cooked beans.  Some pieces of fat floating on the top.  A few potatoes, and a big bunch of nabizas.

You need LOTS of greens. They always shrink so much.

Then you just throw it all in the pot, cover it with water and let it cook until the potatoes and greens are cooked.  Couldn’t be easier.

And here you have the finished product.  It’s one of our favorite dishes.  In fact, it’s what Rogelio chose as our wedding day meal.

However, I recommend picking the bits of meat/fat out and hiding them on your husband’s plate.

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