I was excited to find a huge bunch of turnip greens for $1 at the Downtown Farmers’ Market this morning. I knew right away that I wanted to use them to make a caldo Gallego before the summer heat sets in. Turnip greens are the greens that grow above the root of the turnip. Many people compost them and just eat the root, however, the greens are supercharged with nutrients. Vitamins A, K, C, folate, calcium, iron, and much more!
This recipe is the traditional soup of Galicia. The turnip greens are slightly bitter, similar to broccoli rabe or mustard greens. When cooked down and wilted it lends itself to the smooth and creamy texture of the white beans and potatoes yet empowered by the boldness of the chorizo sausage. It’s delightful and another one of my favorite peasant dishes. Like most Spanish potajes and soups, it’s even better the next day.
Caldo gallego, a traditional Spanish recipe.
- 1/2 pound thickly sliced pancetta or slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup dried white beans, soaked overnight in water to cover
- 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed and roughly chopped
- 2 potatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 turnips, roughly chopped
- 1 lb turnip greens (or other dark leafy green), stemmed and coarsely chopped
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, cook the pancetta until most of the fat has rendered, 8-10 minutes. Add the onions and saute until transluscent.
- Drain the beans, add them to the pot, along with the Spanish chorizo sausage. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients in the pot by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Once boiling, skim scum, lower the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the beans have softened.
- Once softened add the potatoes and turnips and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
- Once the potatoes and turnips have cooked through, turn off the heat and mix in the greens.