I like to think that I am not bound to tradition and can blend into most cultures and feel at home. For the most part that is true. But there is something about that very American holiday of Thanksgiving that pulls on my heartstrings.
Barrie & I don't have the traditional family - we have a blended family that has adults who are all living their own lives, which allows us the same freedom. That's a pretty cool thing for us.
Sometimes we talk about how different our lives might have been if we met when we were young and raised a family together. I'm sure our life now would look very different. But - traditional families aren't always better and different can be pretty terrific most of the time!
For the past few weeks, we had both researched where to find a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in Madrid. Barrie found a restaurant. I found The American Club. We started to see signs in restaurant windows as we walked the city - it was beginning to seem like turkey and all the trimmings would be easy to find in Madrid!
So our final decision? None of the above.
Instead - we had a very non-traditional meal for the US and a very traditional meal for Madrid - Cocido Madrileño! Our friends had told us about the this local dish a few weeks ago. It is a chickpea stew only made during the cold winter months and I had looked up some recipes. They convinced me that we needed to try it in a restaurant first. Good decision! All I can say is - my mouth is watering just thinking about it again! Okay - so my mouth waters for turkey and for Cocido Madrileño.
It's a hearty stew made with several types of meat and chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Everything is cooked until very tender and juicy and then served steaming hot!
The first course is a bowl of small noodles on which they pour the broth of the stew. They do this all tableside so one gets the full effect of the steam and the aromas. After that wonderful bowl of soup, the contents of the crock pots are put into another bowl for you: ham, chorizo, chicken, potatoes. Then a serving of cooked cabbage is brought to add to the bowl. Thankfully, we had been warned of two things: 1. This is a really hearty meal. 2. Eat it for lunch and not dinner or you will be miserable! Points well taken and heeded!
The restaurant is one of those great old establishments that has been around since 1870. It's famous for the Cocido Madrileño. One bite explains why! Four generations of the same family
have perfected and maintained the cooking process that makes this dish so fabulous! La Bola - if you make it to Madrid and the weather is cold, don't miss this gem!
After the meal, we walked back to Plaza de Oriente to walk off the meal and decide what we wanted to do next. As we got to the Plaza, we noticed several photographers aiming their cameras at a door. We stood back and watched as the former king and queen of Spain emerged and walked towards Palacio Real! Juan Carlos I reigned Spain from 1975 until he passed the crown to his son, Felipe IV, in 2014. He is married to Queen Sophia.
So did we have a "real" Thanksgiving? We sure did! We had a Real Madrid Thanksgiving - complete with royalty! Dia de dar Gracias!
This is one of the easier recipes I found, but if you Google this dish, you will find many different recipes. Click here for recipe.
Te amo Madrid!