Chickpea and Meat Broth


Preparation info

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By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

This is one of the great one-pot dishes of the world. It’s the Spanish equivalent of the Italian bollito misto or French cassoulet. It is a year-round national favourite in Spain but I reckon this fits best into the Australian autumn and winter. A friend with a vineyard in central Victoria cooks cocido during vintage because she can feed the pickers from one big pot and still have time to work the crusher.

That said, it is a three-course meal. First, there is an invigorating steaming broth enriched with noodles. This is followed by a dish of tasty boiled vegetables and chickpeas. Finally, there is a plate of chunks of beef, chicken, jamón and chorizo slathered in the same rich broth. The next day any leftover meat can be blended through béchamel sauce to make the classic croquette filling.

Mum still makes cocido once a week. It is not an impromptu dish because the chickpeas need soaking overnight. But once they are done it becomes one of the easiest dishes in the world to cook because it sits on top of the stove and slowly cooks away.

Don’t forget to serve this with lots of crusty bread to mop up the delicious broth.


  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) dried chickpeas
  • 400 g (14 oz) gravy beef, halved
  • 300 g (10½ oz) pork belly, skin and top layer of fat removed, halved
  • 150 g ( oz) piece jamón
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) piece jamón bone
  • two 150 g ( oz) raw chorizos
  • ½ chicken (about 800 g/1 lb 12 oz on the bone), cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 large brown onion, studded with 6 whole cloves
  • 1 floury potato
  • 4 carrots, cut into large batons
  • ½ savoy cabbage, roughly diced
  • 150 g ( oz) morcilla
  • 200 g (7 oz) fideos pasta


Wash the chickpeas and remove any discoloured chickpeas or stones. Cover the chickpeas with warm water and soak overnight.

Put the beef and pork belly pieces into a very large saucepan or stockpot. Add the jamón, jamón bone and 3 litres (105 fl oz/12 cups) water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, making sure to remove any foam or fat that collects on top.

Drain the chickpeas. Before you add them to the soup, add 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) cold water to the pan to cool the liquid a little. (This helps the chickpeas become tender.) Add the chickpeas, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the chorizos, chicken pieces and onion, bring back to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, continually skimming away any fat or foam.

Meanwhile, cut the potato in half. Put the cut side on the board and cut, as if cutting wedges, but don’t cut all the way through, just snap off to reveal a jagged edge. (This causes more starch to be released, which will thicken the soup and cook the potato quicker.)

Add the potato, carrot and cabbage to the soup. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the morcilla and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and take out and discard the jamón bone. The meat in the pot should be tender without being overcooked, and the chickpeas plump. Season the broth to taste (it shouldn’t require too much salt as there is plenty in the jamón and jamón bone).

To serve, remove the meat from the broth, cut the larger pieces of meat and sausage into an adequate number of portions for the diners and put on a plate. It is important when serving the meat to present the beef together, the jamón together, sausages together, and so on, and arrange the meats in an attractive manner. Cover with foil and keep warm. Remove the vegetables and chickpeas and put on a plate or in a bowl, keeping the chickpeas together, the potatoes together, and so on, and arrange in an attractive manner. Cover with foil and keep warm.

Bring the broth to a boil and stir in the fideos pasta. Continue cooking until the pasta is soft — there is no such thing as al dente pasta in the Spanish kitchen. Ladle the soup and pasta into bowls then follow this by a dish of vegetables and then a dish of mixed meats.