Here I go again about food during my childhood, but that is where most of us learn about taste. I grew up not distinguishing Filipino food, American food, Spanish food, or Chinese food; food was either good, bad, or very delicious! I didn’t even know the real name of this dish; the cook called it Pota Gallego. I think she might have meant Potaje Gallego. Upon some research, I gathered that it’s a Spanish soup originating from the province of Galicia.
I was inspired to revisit this childhood dish upon tasting it from the food stall of Bambi Lichauco at the American Women’s Bazaar. He has his own delicious version and this is mine.
It is important that the white beans used, be soaked in plenty of water with baking soda, overnight.
Caldo Gallego (Galician Soup)
A hearty dish of white beans, bacon, pork belly, chorizo de Bilbao, potatoes and cabbage that can be served as a soup or as a main dish.
- 250 grams (1 ½ cups) white beans - soak in plenty of water with 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 teaspoons sea salt overnight then drain and rinse
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus 2 more tablespoons
- 100 grams bacon or pancetta (Italian bacon) - slice into ½-inch pieces
- 1 ham bone
- 1 pork hock - sliced into 1½-inch rounds
- 250 grams pork belly - sliced into ½-inch pieces
- 2 pieces of chorizo Bilbao - sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 4 cloves of garlic - minced
- 1 cup chopped onions
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 bay leaf - cut into bits
- 10 cups of water
- 2 cups of potatoes - peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 small cabbage - remove core and slice into 1-inch pieces
- salt - start with ½ teaspoon
- freshly ground black pepper to taste - start with ½ teaspoon
In a 16 cup capacity cooking casserole, over medium-low heat, place the olive oil.
When warm enough, place the bacon and fry till almost light brown then remove and set aside.
Then in the same oil, fry the pork hock till light brown and then remove and set aside.
Again in the same oil, fry the pork belly till light brown and then remove and set aside.
Throw the oil and change to a new batch.
Still on medium heat, saute the garlic and onions till the onions wilt.
Turn down the heat to low.
Now put in the beans, water, ham bone, paprika, bay leaf, and pork hock, cover the casserole, and simmer for 1 hour, occasionally stirring to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the casserole.
After one hour, add in the pork belly and continue to simmer for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally.
Now add in the chorizo Bilbao, bacon, potatoes, salt and pepper.
Continue simmering and stirring till the potatoes are tender.
Adjust the taste to your liking by either adding more salt, pepper or paprika.
This can be served as a soup or as a main dish.