Galician Soup Broth (Caldo Gallego)

Caldo Gallego

 Xurxo Lobato/Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Soaking Time: 12 hrs
Total: 13 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Galician Broth or Caldo Gallego is the traditional dish of Galicia, Spain. It is a region of rolling hills with cool, wet weather year-round. Galicia still has many small farms, where family plots of vegetables and herds of dairy cows dot the landscape. Galician Broth is the emblematic dish of the region and is eaten any time of the year because it is inexpensive, nutritious, and is a great way to warm up.


  • 8 ounces (225 grams) dry white beans

  • 4 cups (1 liter) water

  • 1 ham bone

  • 1 veal bone, or beef bone

  • 5 teaspoons pork fat

  • 2 handfuls fresh turnip greens

  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) potatoes

  • Salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse beans and remove any debris. Put beans in a pot and cover with water. Soak overnight.

  2. Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces (1-inch squares).

  3. Place two large pots on the stove, each with about 2 cups of water. In one pot, put in the bones, beans, and a pinch of salt and bring to a slow boil.

  4. When the beans are half cooked (30 to 60 minutes depending on the type of beans), remove the bones and add the pieces of potato and continue to simmer.

  5. Bring the second pot of water to a boil.

  6. Place the turnip leaves into the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.

  7. Pour out the water and replace with 2 more cups of water.

  8. Bring to a boil again and cook for another 5 minutes. (This process releases the acidity of the turnip leaves and they will turn the water very green.)

  9. Remove the turnip leaves from the water and place in the pot with the potatoes and beans.

  10. Add the pork fat and water if necessary.

  11. Simmer until all the ingredients are well-cooked. Adjust the salt to taste.

Recipe Variation

  • This is a basic caldo gallego recipe. Add small pieces of pork and/or pieces of Spanish chorizo to give more flavor and color, if desired.