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Dinner Tonight: Caldo Gallego

Halfway through making this Galician soup, I started to have second thoughts. The recipe came from Spain...on the Road Again, the Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols public television show where they drive around Spain in Mercedes Benzes with cameras trained on them eating. Sure, it tasted great in the hills of Spain, but here all I had was a little sautéed bacon, some cubed potatoes and turnips, an onion, a can of white beans, and water in a pot. As my kitchen filled with the unmistakable smell of boiled vegetables, I wondered where this soup was headed. Do I even like turnips? I don't seem to like their smell. I put my faith in the Spanish chorizo still to come and the hearty greens that would wilt in the last minutes of cooking.

Of course, it all came together beautifully. I never would have thought to put a cured sausage into a soup, but it flavored the broth with a porky spiciness that imbued all the humble vegetables with bright flavor and color. The result is filling and healthy, a peasant soup to feed an army for nothing. In fact, I halved the recipe on the show's blog (the original supposedly feeds 4-6) and my recipe still yielded three dinners for two.

About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

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