Soup Week II: Caldo Gallego

Soup_SpoonOn my Pinterest account, there is a board for Things I Want To Cook. It’s a parking lot of things that I want to try, though whether I get there or not remains to be seen. For instance, there is a recipe for potato chip cookies that I pinned three years ago, well before The Kid’s diagnosis of Celiac disease. I could still make them, but I would feel like a real jerk making cookies that my daughter could not eat. (For the record: I’m okay being a jerk to others. Just my child.)

This recipe for caldo Gallego had been around for about a year before I took it out for a spin. The Wife wanted to know what the name translated to. I was certain caldo meant soup, but Gallego threw me. I was pretty sure that this soup was not named after the former Major League Baseball player, Mike Gallego, but beyond that I was stumped. It turns out Gallego is translated to Galician, the language spoken by those who populate the Spanish region located directly north of Portugal. Thus, this the Galician soup. 

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Found all of that out on Wikipedia. No need for any silly foreign language classes. Just me and my tremendously ordinary Internet research skills.

WHAT WORKED: Ham hock. Sure, there is chorizo and turnips and greens and a lot of other great stuff in this soup, but the ham hock was an amazingly smoky addition to the flavor profile. The little strips of pork really enhanced the flavor of each spoonful.

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WHAT DIDN’T: This is not what I would call a low-sodium dish. It requires the use of Goya’s ham-flavored broth powder, sausage and the requisite salt to adjust flavors. This is not the ideal dish for someone with high blood pressure.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Medium.  

BEST FOR: This is another soul-warming dish for a cold Sunday.

SERVE WITH: Bread. Maybe an Estrella Damm.

DISCLAIMER: Goya Foods provided product used in this recipe. No financial compensation was received.

Caldo Gallego
Adapted from the original at Goya Foods

  • 2 tbsp. Goya-brand extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarter-inch slices
  • 4 oz. cured chorizo sausage
  • 2 packets Goya-brand ham-flavored concentrate
  • 1 ham hock (about 8 to 10 oz.)
  • 2 medium baking potatoes, diced
  • 1 turnip, chopped coarsely
  • 2 15.5 oz. cans Goya-brand cannellini beans
  • 4 cups chopped bitter greens (I used a blend from Trader Joe’s with collard, mustard and turnip greens. Any of these on its own would be fine.)

In a large saucepan, combine ham concentrate and 10 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and keep warm.

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Add the olive oil into a large soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat. When it shimmers, add the onions and chorizo. Cook until the onions become soft and the sausage browns, about 10 minutes.

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Gently pour the warm ham broth into the larger pan and drop in the ham hock. Bring to a boil, then add the potatoes and turnip. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes and turnips soften, about 30 minutes.

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Add the beans with the liquid from the can with the greens, cooking until the greens become tender. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes more.

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Remove the ham hock from the pot and cut the ham away from the bones. Return the ham to the pot and stir in. Serve hot.

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