Boiled Beef and Chickpea Dinner (Cocido Madrileño)

The Spanish cocido (‘stew’) containing chicken and chickpeas is a likely offshoot of the traditional adafina of the medieval Spanish Jews. Adafina is a meat, greens, and chickpea stew left to cook on a Friday afternoon in a sealed pot, only to cracked open for the next days Shabbat lunch. Since work is forbidden on the Sabbath to observant Jews, it was critical to have a meal that involved no actual preparation from Friday sundown until Saturday noon when the famished family returns from synagogue to enjoy lunch. In the days before each family had adequate cooking facilities, such warm dishes were put into a communal bakery oven.

Cocido Madrileño updates the traditional adafina with the addition of pork meats like chorizo and slab bacon to create a rich and soothing two course meal.

Spanish Cocido Madrileno Boiled Beef & Chickpea Dinner

Cocido Madrileño – Spanish Stew of Boiled Beef and Chickpeas

In Spain, the popularity of this dish from Madrid rivals that of paella and gazpacho. Cocido is not difficult to make but it does take quite a while. This satisfying comfort food is served in two stages; soup from the broth with noodles, followed by the meats and vegetables on separate platters. Crusty bread for soaking up the flavorful juices should always be nearby.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Cheesecloth, slotted spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Large heavy pot with cover
  • Food processor
  • Large skillet
  • 2 qt. Saucepan
  • Soup ladle, slotted spoon


  • 1 lb Dried chickpea
  • 1 large Chicken thigh
  • 2 lb Beef chuck
  • ¼ Slab bacon, 1 piece
  • ¾ lb Chorizo sausage
  • ½ lb Kielbasa
  • ¼ lb Cured ham or prosciutto, 1 chunk
  • 2 Ham or beef bone
  • 18 cups Water
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 Onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 Large scallions, trimmed
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Large carrot, scraped
  • 4 Medium new potato, peeled
  • 4 oz Angel hair spaghetti

Optionable Meatballs (Pelotas)

  • 1 cup Shredded beef chuck, from pot
  • ½ cup Chopped bacon, from pot
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp Broth, from pot
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

Sauteed Cabbage (Repollo)

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • ½ Head cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


  • Prep – The day before, soak chickpeas in a bowl of salted water (or skip and use 2 cans of chickpeas). In a large pot, place chicken, beef, bones, bacon slab, ham slab, and sausages with 18 cups of water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Add salt and pepper and simmer 1½ hours. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
  • Cook Chickpeas – The next day, remove meat pot and scrape any fat solids from the top. Transfer meats to a net bag or cheesecloth. Reserve 1 cup of the broth and ½ cup of the bacon to use for the meatballs. Drain chickpeas and add to pot along with meat bag, onion, garlic, scallion, carrot and potato. Adjust seasoning and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Turn off heat.
  • Make meatballs (if using) – Add the reserved shredded beef, chopped bacon, and egg in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add garlic, parsley, reserved broth, salt & pepper, plus just enough bread crumbs so mixture can be handled. Form into sausage shapes, 2-inches long by 1-inch wide. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry meatballs on all sides until golden brown. Add meatballs to the liquid in the pot and turn heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours.
  • Make Cabbage – Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until onion is wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Add cabbage, salt and pepper. Continue cooking over medium heat until cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in wine vinegar and remove from heat.
  • Noodles (optional) – If using noodles in soup, boil them in a saucepan until just about done, drain, and divide between soup bowls.
  • Serve – Remove the bag with meats to one of the two platters you'll be serving them on. Strain the broth to a bowl or large Pyrex measuring cup. Ladle broth into the bowls with noodles, if using, and serve as the first course.
    Cut meats into serving sized pieces and arrange nicely on one platter. Add meatballs and cabbage around platter. On a second platter or big bowl, arrange the vegetables and chickpeas. Serve with crusty bread and hearty Spanish red wine.


Calories: 1180kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 74g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 870mg | Potassium: 1940mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3919IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 11mg

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