The chilly winter months are finally upon us, but have no fear: Madrid has quite the variety of delicious soups and stews to warm you right up!
Unsure of where to begin your cold weather culinary exploits? We have you covered with our roundup of the most popular winter soups and stews in Madrid! Is your spoon handy?
One of our favorite ways to warm up during the winter is a steaming hot mug of caldo. One of Madrid’s most traditional winter dishes, caldo is prepared with slow cooked meat, vegetables and stewed bones. If you’re out walking and in need of a pick-me-up, check the signs outside of restaurants or in their windows. “Hay Caldo” means the establishment serves this savory broth. No matter where you are in Madrid, you’re never far from a soul-warming bowl of caldo.
Where to eat caldo: For a restaurant that really knows its caldo, visit Lhardy (Carrera de San Jeronimo, 8). Opened in 1839, Lhardy has served this winter soup in Madrid for over 175 years! Enjoy some Madrid history with your caldo!
Crema de Verduras
Don’t worry, vegetarians! We haven’t forgotten about you! One of Madrid’s most popular winter soups is crema de verduras. Even the most diehard meat lovers will swoon over the delightful medley of pumpkin, zucchini and carrots. It’s perfectly acceptable to wipe the bowl clean with a piece of bread. You won’t want to miss a drop!
Insider’s tip: When you’re scanning menus in search of Madrid’s delicious soups and stews, keep an eye out for the word “casera”. It means homemade. Who doesn’t like their soups hot and homemade?!
Callos a la Madrileña
For those more adventurous eaters, we highly recommend callos a la Madrileña. This special stew is prepared using a tomato base and features tripe. Understandably, callos is not for everyone, but we encourage you to experience firsthand Madrid’s tradition of tail to snout eating. After being sliced into strips, the tripe is cooked to mouthwatering tenderness with garbanzo beans, bell peppers and plenty of spices. If you’re wondering what to eat in Madrid in winter, callos is an absolute must-try.
Where to eat callos: For some of the best callos in Madrid, check out Bodegas Ricla (Calle Cuchilleros, 6). The bar owner’s very own mother prepares the callos, which are spiced to perfection. It’s one of Madrid’s most typical winter dishes for a good reason!
Sopa de Lentejas
This one is for all our legume-lovers out there! Simple yet incredibly satisfying, sopa de lentejas (lentil soup) is a Spanish household staple. Its ingredients include lentils (of course), carrots, onions, potatoes, chorizo and a dash of smoked paprika. Delicious AND nutritious? Count us in!
Vegetarian-friendly: Want to try your hand at preparing some Spanish cuisine? Sopa de lentejas is easy to make, and by leaving out the chorizo, you have a scrumptious soup nonmeat eaters can enjoy as well! If you’re not in the mood to cook, you can find this typical winter soup in traditional Spanish taverns all over Madrid.
We’ve saved the best for last: cocido Madrileño. Conceived in the Spanish capital, this hearty stew is made with garbanzo beans, potatoes, chorizo, beef shank and, usually fresh but sometimes cured, pork belly. For even more flavor, cooks add carrots, cabbage, chicken (generally, old hens) and morcilla (blood sausage). Chefs incorporate ham bone and beef spine bone to enrich the stock. Is your mouth watering yet?!
Once all the ingredients have cooked together for hours to achieve optimal flavor, tradition states the ingredients of cocido must be served separately. First, you’re served cocido stock with noodles in a soul-warming soup. Next, you’re given a plate of garbanzos and vegetables. The grand finale is the meat. The three vuelcos (servings) are as important as the ingredients themselves, so enjoy every moment. After your first bite, you’re sure to understand why cocido is arguably the most popular winter food in Madrid.
Where to eat cocido: Join us on our Daytime Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour to learn all about cocido and go behind the scenes and into the kitchen at La Bola (Calle la Bola, 5), one of the city’s oldest and most celebrated cocido restaurants. You’ll get to taste this Spanish classic and more on our four-hour exploration of Madrid’s culinary scene!
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Alex’s first taste of Spain was Basque Country, and it was love at first sip…of txakoli! Too obsessed with tapas to even consider returning to the States, Alex moved to Madrid and continued exploring Spain. Read more about her travels and expat adventures on her blog: Backpacking Brunette.