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Monday, March 25, 2013


Kale or Cow Cabbage is prized in the Maragato Region
Photo by: Lord-Willliams
Maragato chickpea stew. It is the most traditional dish in the Maragato Region in León. It dates back to the pre-Roman period in Asturias and León and still is made from recipes carried down for hundreds of years.

Cocido maragato containing boiled game is the prototype and the most popular, varying little, although the meat is substantially increased for wedding and feast day cocidos. It is prepared during the hunting season from the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) to January 6th (King’s Day), and on raw, freezing winter days for this it is a heavy dish rich in fats and high calories.

Game and livestock are killed in the morning. The entails are extracted and preparation for consumption of the meat commences. Generally, cocido maragato contains pork including blood, shoulder meat, an ear, the snout, the belly, choizo, chicken, jerky and young bull meat. It does not include 10 different meats as some authors claim. Further, it does not include leeks or carrots as in Madrid but kale or cow cabbage (commonly called berza)[1] or a vegetable in season with fried garlic. Each ingredient is served separately on a platter, except the chickpeas which are served in another dish. In Castile, the broth from the cocido is served as a first course but the Maragatos say that if something is leftover be the broth. They, therefore, serve it after the solids are eaten.   See cerrona, comida del pastor, garbanzos, larguero, puchero and ración. [Alonso, L.M. 1994: 197; Ares. “Comidas.” 1994:84; ES: Fortun. Mar 8, 02; Fernández González. 1994:192-193; and Sutil. 1994:163-164]

Note: One helping Maragato cocido contains 1,000 calories. The normal intake of a person per day is 2,000 calories with bread and dessert. An individual helping of the pork including a blood sausage has over 700 calories.

For 6 persons

Maragato Chickpea Stew
Photo by: MR Samper and MJ Martínez Pesta

10 ½ oz chickpeas
7oz bacon
9 oz jerky
9 oz de gallina/hen
7 oz  blood sausage
3 ½ oz salt pork
1 chorizo
1 pig’s ear
1 trotter
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
3 turnips
1/2 cow cabbage
1 c medium size noodles water extra virgin olive oil salt to taste
2 tbsp chopped parsley


Soak chickpeas overnight. Put bacon and jerky in a separate boil and soak overnight as well. Put the meat, salt pork, chorizo, trotter, ear, chicken, bacon and jerky in a pot with plenty of water. Boil gently for 1 ½ hrs. Skim off grease. Fill a pressure cooker with plenty of water, bring to a brisk boil. Add chickpeas, onion and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
Peel the turnips and cut them into pieces. Chop the cabbage. Put them in a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Cook 20-30 minutes.

Peel and chop garlic cloves. Brown them in a frying pan with olive oil and remove from heat.  

Add chopped parsley and white pepper.  Mix this and pour it over the cabbage and turnips. Strain the chickpeas and add the broth to the broth in the meat pot. Bring to a boil and add the noodles. Let it boil gently for 5 minutes. Sreve the meats and sausages first, then the chickpeas and vegetables. Serve the soup last.

Note: Leftovers from cocido are called ropa vieja ("old clothes)." The following day, the out coat or tegument of onions are friend until they become dark. Then the leftovers are put on top of them and they are cooked until toasted. Today this dish is served with natural tomato sauce.

[1] See blog titlted Col Forrrajera published April 29, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I'm "Maragata" which means that I am from the Maragateria, this region of Leon, Spain.
    I just wanted to tell you that this is not pre-roman recipe, and it is not from Asturias (it is a normal mistake, because the people from this region before Romans where called Astures, but it means a kind of people, not that were from Asturias).
    This is exclusive from Maragateria, the region around Astorga, in León, Spain, and that it cames from Medieval times, when the "Arrieros", a kind of mule drivers, traveled from city to city selling their products, and made this stew and eat it in the oposite way to the normal stews. They began with the meat, then the peas and last the soup, just in case they had to go back on they way quickly, to have eaten the strongest food first.
    Greetings from Spain, came and try it!!!