I CAN’T WALK PAST A BAR THAT DISPLAYS A HANDWRITTEN SIGN SAYING ‘HAY CALDO’, OR WE HAVE BROTH’. INSIDE, THE BAR STAFF ARE SERVING UP LITTLE GLASSES OF RICH STOCK LEFT OVER FROM THE COCIDO. TO MAKE A COCIDO IS SIMPLE, BUT IT TAKES GREAT PREPARATION AS IT IS A RICH, SLOW-COOKED STEW CONTAINING CHICKPEAS, VEGETABLES, MEATS, CHICKEN, SAUSAGES AND, OF COURSE, JAMÓn. THIS IS A SHORTCUT TO THE SAME RICH, LIP-SMACKING CLEAR SOUP THAT SOMETIMES I JUST CRAVE. FOR THIS SOUP A PIECE OF JAMÓN IS ADDED TO THE POT TO SLOWLY RELEASE A LITTLE SALT, SOME RICH TEXTURE AND A LOT OF FLAVOUR. NOTE THAT TO KEEP CALDO CLEAR IT SHOULD BE BARELY SIMMERED AND NEVER BOILED. CALDO CAN BE USED TO START A MEAL, BE A MEAL IN ITSELF WITH THE ADDITION OF SOME PASTA, OR BE OF GREAT COMFORT WHEN YOU’RE NOT FEELING WELL. IT’S NO USE MAKING ANY LESS THAN ENOUGH FOR 12, BUT ANY EXCESS CAN EASILY BE STORED IN THE FREEZER FOR A MONTH. AFTER BEING USED TO MAKE THE CALDO, THE CHICKEN AND JAMÓN CAN BE SHREDDED AND MIXED WITH BÉCHAMEL SAUCE TO MAKE CROQUETAS.
Rinse the chicken well and discard any giblets. Place in a large saucepan with all the remaining ingredients. Cover with cold water, place over high heat and bring to just below the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 hours, skimming continuously. The stock should just simmer very gently and not boil.
Remove the chicken and jamón from the stock and reserve for croquetas if desired. Strain the consommé and ladle into warm bowls. Serve with a small glass of chilled amontillado sherry.
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