2018 was a year full of adventures for Sherly’s Kitchen and myself, but if I had to pick a highlight among all, it was walking across 799km of the Camino de Santiago, starting from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This route is also called “Camino Frances” because the starting point is in France.
During this journey, one walks through four regions of Spain: Navarra, Rioja, Castilla y Leon, and Galicia. Each region has its own beauty and character, but for me, my favorite part was arriving and walking through Galicia. Not just because of the green green forests and the endless Eucalyptus trees that make you feel like you’re visiting a land where elves and fairies live, but also because the food is delicious in Galicia! The region gets a lot of rain, hence green pasture; healthy cows and dairy products, good quality beef, lots of vegetables too. And don’t forget the fresh seafood that comes from its coast.
As soon as you reach Galicia, you will see a soup that is served everywhere – on the pilgrim menus or even just in local restaurants. It’s Caldo Gallego. It’s a comforting farmer-style soup that is pork-based, and has a lot of greens, potatoes and beans. As a pilgrim walking the Galician region, you’ll probably eat this everyday, because they’ll serve it in daily lunch and dinner menus. But I never got tired of it. Every place makes it a bit different, and the chilly Galician weather will just make you crave for more 🙂
Have you ever walked the Camino de Santiago and are you missing it? This recipe will bring back the beautiful memories. It’s perfect for the winter days, and super easy to make 🙂
This recipe is dedicated to all the wonderful people in my life who has made walking the camino possible for me by supporting me in so many ways, so many pilgrims who helped me plan the 36 days of the journey through the online camino community, and the pilgrims that I’ve met during the camino.
Ingredients for 6 people
- 200-250g salted pork (Salted pork belly/shoulders/hawk…whatever you find in your local stores or butchers. This will be used to flavor your broth, so stay away from smoked meat, as it will make your soup taste smoky too. If you have pork or beef bones for stock, use them too.)
- 150-200g chorizo, case peeled (you can omit chorizo if you can’t find it)
- 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in small bite-size wedges
- 2 cups of white beans, soaked in room-temperature water overnight
- 300-400g cima di rapa, rinsed (replaceable with any type of chards, mustard greens)
- 2 Litres water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: In the ingredient picture above on the white plate, you see two little pieces of “unto” which is lard (pork fat). They always add a piece of this unto in Galicia to flavor their broth, but it’s OK to omit. I bought the unto in the local market (Mercado de Abastos) in Santiago after I finished the camino and brought it home with me. A piece of unto size of your fist will last long enough to make 10-12 pots of Caldo Gallego!
- Take a stew pot or a pot with a thick bottom.
- Pour in 2L of water and the salted pork, whole chorizo and any pork/beef bones for stock. Boil for 20min.
- Remove the salted pork, chorizo or any bones from the broth and set aside.
- Put in the soaked white beans and the cut potatoes into the pot. Boil for ca. 20minutes until the beans and potatoes are cooked. The broth will become a bit whiter and thicker due to the starch in the beans and potatoes. And this will bring out some deep flavors!
- Cut the salted pork, chorizo, and the cima di rapa into bite size pieces and put them all into the cooked broth. Boil for another 15-20 minutes on medium heat until the greens are completely cooked.
- Taste the soup. The salted pork and chorizo will naturally salt the soup, but add more salt and pepper to suit your taste. Serve with a piece of rustic bread
Tip: It tastes even better the next day!