Cocido Warms the Migrants at the Comedor. Yes! Try it. You’ll like it.

By on January 4, 2012

Cocido with Hominy

Cocido is as common in Mexico as Canned Soup is in the US.  And it tastes a whole lot better and is certainly better for you. Simmering fresh vegetables in broth with meat is just light years ahead of any prepared soup for sale.  Period.  No contest.  Learn to make the cocido and you’ll never turn back.  Its the essence of sustainable food.

Why?  Cocido is simply a vegetable stew made with pork or beef and whatever vegetabales are on hand and in season.  Nothing is canned.  Nothing is processed.  It’s all fresh and it’s all good. Cocido originated in Spain, but traveled to the New World.  While most often made with a cheap cut of beef,  it is an entirely flexible process.  Pork is wonderful in the Cocido.  Yes.  We like it and you will too.

Chopping Peppers for the Cocido

In Mexico, it will be easier for cooks to find local, organic vegetables.  You may have to hunt for them.  But it’s worth it.

When Peg Bowden, our own Border Reporter, went to the Clinica at the Comedor in Nogales last week, the nuns were making Cocido for about 50 people.  It’s a great communal operation there, and a method you’d do well to attempt at home.

Peeling Potatoes for the Cocido

Here’s our version of the Cocido.  Notice that there are many vegetables you can add or subtract, depending on what you can find fresh in the market.  Make a big pot.  You’ll be eating it for days after happy days.

Peppers and Potatoes for the Cocido


Cocido for the Comedor

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 EACH: green, yellow and orange bell peppers, chopped

1 onion sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced

Kosher salt and black peppercorns to taste (start with about 1 teaspoon each)

2 lbs. pork shoulder or beef shank, cut into chunks

4 cups of water

4 cups chicken broth

2 Large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch chunks

Other optional vegetables depending on the season and what’s on hand might include:

1 16 oz. can hominy or posole, drained

1 carrot cut in 1/2 inch pieces

2 ears of corn cut into 8 pieces

1 zucchini, cut into thick slices, or chayote

1 yellow summer squash, cut into thick slices

1/4 head of Cabbage thinly sliced

Garnishes might include:

Cilantro, avocado, radishes,  fresh salsa, lime wedges

Corn tortillas hot and slathered in butter, yellow rice


Season meat with salt and pepper. Set it aside. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil.  Sauté the peppers, onions and garlic in oiluntil limp and beginning to brown, stirring. Then brown the meat in the oil with spices (cumin and oregano). Add water and broth and bring to boil. Skim foam from surface. Cover loosely and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Add potato and carrot and simmer for about 25 minutes. Add corn and posole cover and simmer 15 minutes. Then add zucchini, squash and cabbage and cover and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly soft. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, ladle broth, meat, and some of each vegetable into large soup bowls. Top each serving with cilantro, radishes and av0cado. Serve with lime wedges. Hot sauce is optional.

Serve with yellow rice, corn tortillas, salsa and chopped mixed fruit on the side.

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