Whenever my daughters visit from overseas, I cook their favorite dishes for them. Recently it was cocido, a chicken stew made with potatoes, cabbage and carrots.
Because it has been around for so long, cocido has many variations. Some recipes use beef instead of chicken, and other types of meat as well, such as chorizo and morcilla. Others add ham, pork, beef bone marrow and beef chunks.
In Spain, Cocido Madrileña is served in three courses: first the soup, then the vegetables and chickpeas, and finally the chicken and other meats. It’s a hearty dish, warm and comforting, especially on cold, rainy nights.
The cocido I cook at home is more of the Filipino style, simmered with tomato sauce and with saba bananas added. It’s similar to the cocido my mother used to serve in our old house in Quezon City. I’ve taken some liberties with it, though, by adding hot dogs (which my daughters liked when they were growing up) and eliminating the garbanzos, which no one at home fancies (I know, I know… for the purists, it’s a sacrilege).
With chicken, vegetables, sausages and soup in the equation, it’s a substantial dish that is bound to satisfy every member of the family.
1 whole chicken, sliced into serving pieces, or 4 chicken legs, 4 chicken thighs and 4 chicken wings
¼ c olive oil
2 whole chorizo sausages, sliced diagonally
1 medium-size onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 c water
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into circles
4 saba bananas, each cut in 2 or 3 pieces
2 c tomato sauce
2 c crushed tomatoes (canned)
2 tbsp patis
12 all-meat cocktail hot dogs
1 whole head of cabbage, sliced into serving pieces
Wash the chicken well. Pat dry and season with salt. Set aside.
In a large casserole, heat the olive oil on low fire and sauté the chorizo sausages lightly, turning once. Remove the chorizo from the casserole and set aside. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on both sides (you may have to do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan). Remove the chicken from the pan.
Turn the heat to low. Add the onion and sauté for one to two minutes then add the garlic and continue sautéing for one to two more minutes (making sure not to burn the garlic). Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add the potatoes, carrots and bananas. Pour in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Season with patis. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the potatoes, carrots and bananas are tender. Add the cocktail hot dogs, the sautéed chorizo and the cabbage during the last two minutes of cooking.
To serve: Arrange the chicken, chorizo and hot dogs on one side of a large platter. On the other side, arrange the potatoes, carrots, bananas and cabbage. Pour the broth into a separate bowl.
Serve with rice and with patis and calamansi.
Note: A variation on this recipe appears in my mini cookbook “Filipino Favorites,” published by Periplus, available online and in bookstores.