Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Caldo Gallego Estilo Cubano - Galician Soup - Cuban Style


When I was a kid I dreaded the day my mom use to make this soup. Much to her dismay I simply refused to eat it and would make myself and a PB&J sandwich . I don't know why but I never liked it. It wasn't until I was an adult that I began to somewhat tolerate this soup and now in recent years - I wholeheartedly embrace it!  My recipe is based on the Cuban version of this very classic Spanish soup. It is the way I remember my mom making it with the exception of the use of pork salt, which I leave out. I just don't care for it. My recipe uses smoked ham shank instead of ham hocks because it's lot meatier and I think adds more flavor.  It also uses Spanish chorizo, and I will caution that using the Mexican variety is a no-no.  The flavor profiles of these two chorizos is a world apart, they can not be interchanged and to attain the same flavor at the end. I was very happy to be able to use fresh, organic collard greens from my own garden and my own homemade chicken and ham stock. Box stocks are just fine too.  I am providing a slow cooker** and a stove top method. This soup makes a big batch, is even better the next day and freezes well.

Serves 8-10

1 1/2 pounds of dried  great white northern beans
1 large bone-in smoked ham shank
4 Spanish  dry-cured chorizo, sliced into small coins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups of collard greens, chopped
1 pound of potatoes, large dice
2 turnips, diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups of ham stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
Salt** and pepper

Slow cooker instructions:

  • Soak beans overnight in water. Rinse and discard soaking water.
  • Place all the ingredients (except salt and pepper) into a slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours. I do not recommend the high setting for this recipe.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper if needed
Stove top instructions:

  • Soak beans overnight in water. Rinse and discard soaking water.
  • In a large heavy dutch oven pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and chorizo. Cook for 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, stir to coat ingredients in the pan well.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients (except potatoes, turnips and salt & pepper). Bring to rolling boil and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Lower heat and cook at a low simmer for 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.You may need very little if any.
  • Cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 hours and then add potatoes and turnips.  Cook an additional 20-30 minutes or until potatoes/turnips are tender.

Serve this over white rice or with a crusty toasted loaf of your favorite bread and a good bottle of Spanish red wine. Cheers!

**Recipe Notes: I have found that the slow cooker method works best when cooked on low for 8-10 hours.  I find that using it on high for 4-6 hours just doesn't deliver the right amount of flavor.
Be mindful of salt.  I prefer salting, if at all, at the end, and allow it to cook for 10 minutes so that the flavor is infused into the soup.  You have the smoked ham, ham stock and chorizo that will most likely add all the salt you will need. Most of the time I don't add any at all.


  1. This sounds wonderful. I can just imagine how it would taste, full of flavor!

  2. Dawn, it truly is delicious and this recipe makes a big batch, and it freezes well so you get multiple meals out of it. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and commenting!

  3. What size slow cooker do you use? It gives the impression it would overflow a 7.5 quart cooker, which is the biggest I've been able to find here.

    1. It will fill the slow cooker to the very top. My slow cooker is the
      Crock-Pot 6.5-Qt. iStir Automatic Stirring Slow Cooker and it all fit in there. Hope you get to try it and enjoy this yummy soup. Thank you for commenting!