Caldo Gallego is a soup made with beans, potatoes and berzas, those long-stalked cabbages you see everywhere in Galicia.
This hearty soup is the perfect fuel for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago .
Ingredients: 1 onion, a dab of lard (or olive oil, if you prefer), 500 grams of cabbage leaves cut into strips, chunks of salty back bacon, pre-soaked lima beans (better when fresh; the bigger the better), 3 or 4 medium-sized Galician potatoes.
Chop the onion fine and fry in the lard (or olive oil) until just turning golden.
Throw in the berzas and cook for five minutes over a low heat.
Add generous stock: 1 liter, at least.
Add lima beans and cook for an hour or until beans are soft.
Chop potatoes into smallish chunks and add along with the bacon. Add more water if necessary.
Cook for an extra 30 minutes.
If you can’t find berzas, any dark green cabbage such as kale or other winter greens will do. Berzas are tough and need a long time cooking. Some people say they are better if you cut them and freeze them first.
If you use canned beans and white cabbage, you can throw everything in together once the onions are cooked. I don’t add salt because the salty bacon gives enough flavor for my taste. In Spain you normally stick in a piece of bacon with the fat and skin attached to further flavor the stock.
Serve the caldo gallego in warm bowls with thick-cut crusty rye bread. After a day out walking, a bowl of this broth and a glass of young red wine will certainly warm you up!