The Maragato stew. The three vuelcos.

Maragato Stew

The cocido is a dish spread all over Spain. Although it receives different names, they all have a common base: its origin. The cocido comes from the Jewish ADAFINA (from the Arabic DAFANA, which means to cover), which was based on chickpeas, vegetables and meat, although, of course, it was not pork. Al Adafina was left prepared on Friday night to respect the Sabbath and this is how it derived in the rotten pot and later in the stew, to which the pork meat was already added.

We focus on the cocido maragato, which is etymologically born from the word mercatos and mericatos, the ancient muleteers who came from this area of Leon and who were engaged in trade.

What makes the cocido maragato different is the way it is consumed, what is known as "los tres vuelcos", taken the "vicunversa" or vice versa. That is to say, the other way around. First the meat, then the chickpeas with the cabbage and finally the soup.

There are numerous anecdotes regarding this way of consuming food. One of them comes from the fact that in the work of the muleteers time was precious, so the stew was consumed in the same cart while continuing the journey to the destination, so it was easier to start with the meat.

Another is that the "maragatos" already carried the different portions separated in lunch boxes, which made them cool, and when they arrived at their destination they ended up heating the soup in an inn or boarding house to warm up.

One of the most curious anecdotes tells that, during the invasion of the Napoleonic army in the 19th century, the Maragata women called the men who were working in the fields to the meal by means of the sound of a triangle. This sound was also used by the troops to get the food from the muleteers, so that they never had time to finish the meat (chorizo, bacon, leg, ear, snout, pork shoulder, chicken, etc.). Tired of others taking the most nutritious and expensive part of the feast, the Maragatos reversed the order of the meal and so the French soldiers began to keep only the soup.

From all these stories has remained the typical phrase "if there is any left over, let there be soup left over".

What is clear is that you cannot leave Maragatería without tasting this delicious delicacy, topped off with some delicious custard accompanied by a piece of sponge cake.

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