Sunday, February 5, 2012

Puchero - Cocido Style

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Puchero as I remebered it growing up is a simple beef stew that my Mom made usually on Sundays for lunch. It was a rich beef stew cooked with ripe stewing bananas and sweet potatoes together with the usual cabbage and potatoes. Traditionally made with beef, I prefer to make this with chicken and pork. There is another way to serve this dish though and it is something that I seldom make since I prefer my Mom's rustic version. Similar to how a Cocido is served in Spain, the dish can be presented in a deconstructed way. The broth that the stew is cooked in is served as a starter followed by the meat and vegetables. A tomato-based sauce flavored with the same broth is used as a condiment together with an eggplant relish. The use of the eggplant relish is new to me so I did away with it. I did hold off the tomato sauce but drizzled a good amount over the meats prior to serving to impart a rich visual to the diners. 

Another important issue to deal with is the sausage used for this dish. My preference is the Chinese sausage or a Spanish Chorizo but given the limited availability of both in Bozeman, I had to use a regular smoked pork and beef sausage. It looked juicy and plump but was quite bland in terms of taste which was a bummer. Still, the dish held out on its own and was quite tasty. I made a few changes along the way but the stew was delicious nonetheless. I was hoping to find ripe plantain bananas here in town but they were out this week. Fried slices of plantain would have gone well with this dish. 

Puchero - Cocido Style

2 lbs chicken breasts and thighs, skinned
2 lbs lean pork
1 lb smoked pork and beef sausage, sliced in thirds
3 garlic cloves
1 onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 lb green beans
1 small head cabbage, cored and quartered
15 oz chickpeas, canned
1 cup white wine
8-10 cups beef broth
12 oz tomato paste
salt and pepper
4-5 tbsp olive oil

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Brown the pork on 
    both sides and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Brown the sausages 
    and set aside. Brown the chicken on both sides and season with salt and 
    pepper. Set aside. 

2. Reduce the heat to medium and in the same pot, saute the garlic and 
    onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly browned. Add 
    the bay leaves and saute for another minute. Add the wine and let it boil 
    for a minute. Return the pork and sausages into the pot and add enough 
    broth until fully covered and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and 
    simmer covered for about 20 minutes. 

3. Add the chicken pieces and add more broth if needed and simmer for 
    another 30 minutes. Check the meats if fully cooked. Make sure that they 
    are cooked through but are not falling apart. Check the broth for flavor 
    and adjust accordingly. Keep warm.

4. When close to serving, take most of the liquid from the stew and in a 
    separate pot, cook the potatoes in the liquid until tender. This will take 
    about 20-25 minutes. Add the cabbage slices and cook covered until 
    tender. Add the green beans and chickpeas and cook covered until the 
    beans turn bright green. 

To serve, arrange the meats and vegetables in small groups on a serving platter. Add the tomato paste into the pot with the liquid used to cook the vegetables and bring to a boil. The sauce will be thick but still pourable. Check for flavor and add more broth or water if necessary. Drizzle over the meats and serve on the side as well. 

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