This caldo hails from Galicia in the northwest of Spain is both very hearty--particularly during the winter months--and yet incredibly clean and healthy. It is made entirely with water...no chicken stock or broth necessary. The potatoes and turnips contribute to thicken the caldo and the pancetta (get the best quality possible) and chorizo add just the right amount of umami.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
-1/2 pound of best quality pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
-1 cup of dried gigante or cannelini beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover
-2 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
-1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped (use Spring onion when in season)
-2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
-1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, removed from the casing and cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
-1 pound turnip or similar greens (kale, Swiss chard) stemmed and chopped coarsely
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Extra virgin olive oil
In a large heavy pot of Dutch oven sautee the pancetta with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until most of fat is rendered and the pieces are starting to barely brown, 6-8 minutes. Half way through add the chopped onions and stir through.
Add the drained beans and chorizo to the pot and stir through. Add enough water to cover and turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour--add more water if necessary--until the beans are beginning to soften and cook through.
Add the turnips and potatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the greens and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
It's not Spanish to do this but I like to grate Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of each bowl and serve!
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com