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El cocido o los saltos de esquí del otoño español

El garbanzo es el gran protagonista de uno de los platos canónicos y simbólicos de nuestra cocina. Llega el otoño. ¡ Españoles, a las ollas !

l igual que los saltos de esquí de Garmisch-Partenkirchen en Alemania o la marcha Radetzky al compás de las palmas del finísimo público del Musikverein de Viena abren el año nuevo, el primer cocido inaugura en cada casa o restaurante el otoño español. Garbanzos. El garbanzo es el rey. El amo del cocido. Ignoro por qué a tan insigne legumbre le corresponde la declinación adjetiva y desdeñosa de «garbancero». «Persona o cosa ordinaria o vulgar», pontifica la RAE. «Don Benito el garbancero», bautizó con evidente mala leche Valle Inclán a Pérez Galdós por aquello de la inclinación del literato canario a escribir sobre la gente corriente, que desde mediados del XIX comía garbanzos a mansalva, cuando no era , las más de las veces, lo único que comía. A la aspiracional y algo esnob sociedad reformista de la época aquello de los garbanzos debía parecerle demasiado vulgar. Pero hay garbanzos derramados por toda la literatura española; y, por supuesto, en el Quijote, tanto en las ventas como en los sueños húmedos de Sancho, aunque don Quijote comiera lentejas todos los viernes del año por aquello de la vigilia.  Los glosó el Buscón de Quevedo y Clarín distinguía a las damas-bien de las damas-mal porque no comían garbanzos. Y no hay nada más sacralizado en la historia del currante español que llevar los garbanzos a casa con el sudor de su frente

El cicer arietinum, fastuosa legumbre, es alimento para niños una vez trillado en el plato con el tenedor, quitahambre para los obreros pero también alimento de reyes. LHardy, el clásico de los clásicos madrileños, presume de que Isabel II era asidua a su comedor para dar cuenta de su cocido; está acreditado que su primogénita, Isabel «la chata», de nariz recortada y aficionada a los toros, los comía en La Bola. Felipe II protegió el garbanzo de Fuentesaúco por decreto real y hasta el emérito actual recibió el garbanzo de oro de la Cofradía del garbanzo de plata . La reina de España, doña Leticia, también fue agasajada con el garbanzo de plata, aunque en su caso le cunde mucho menos la ingesta de leguminosas.

Podría decirse que el garbanzo vive hoy una segunda juventud. Por muy gourmet -tope de gama, dicen hoy los chavales- que sea, no hay forma de encontrar un saquito de garbanzos que suba de los diez euros. Eso yéndonos al pico alto, lo que lo mantiene como alimento popular. En cualquier caso, el garbanzo está de moda. No para los comilones profesionales que nunca han dejado de hozar en un buen cocido ni de meter la zarpa en la pringá: los del Baby boom, los uppers o los de la Silent generation (los niños de la posguerra) siempre hemos sido fieles, en casa o en la calle. Hablamos de esas generaciones de millenials, centenials, zetas y equis en la quiniela que han descubierto el hummus y se han quedado ojipláticos al enterarse de que esa deliciosa pasta está hecha con los garbanzos de la abuela. En breve se enterarán de que los reyes magos no existen. 

La leguminosa alinea un once de lujo en los mejores establecimientos: Pedrosillano, Castellano, Lechoso, Maragato, Valseca, Fuentesáuco, Desi, kabuli y en ataque Chana Dal , Chamad y Bengal Gram. Como ven, en el once de gala hay varios oriundos de Turquía pero también algún persa e incluso un indio. Es lo que tiene esta leguminosa adaptada al Mediterráneo, que arraiga se mezcla bien con casi todo. Y es que hay que admitir que el garbanzo alcanza el cénit en el cocido. Su ayuntamiento con la patata, el calabacín, el nabo, la zanahoria y el repollo es fecundo y su comunión con la costilla del cerdo, el pollo, la carne magra y el tocino entreverado eleva el espíritu. El cocido en España es religión. Ojo con mentarle el cocido de la madre a uno. Desata broncas tan agrias como las de la ensaladilla. Cocidos hay muchos. Paloma Díaz-Mas en su delicioso libro El pan que como, de obligada lectura, aborda el origen del cocido y lo sitúa en el siglo XV, en la adafina que cocinaban los judíos sefardíes en una olla de barro la noche del viernes para consumirlo en el Sabbat: llevaba garbanzos y carne de cordero además de especias como canela y clavo. Desde entonces ha llovido y a lo largo de la península cada cual ha interpretado el cocido a su manera. Desde el clásico madrileño con sus tres vuelcos, canónico; el extremeño, que añade carne de cerdo ibérico; el andaluz, que se hace con un majado de ajo; el lebaniego; la olla gitana del levante, con verdura de la huerta; el contundente cocido de Lalín que, resumiendo, incorpora al porco celta entero y el afamado chorizo ceboleiro con su pizca de orégano; o el célebre maragato, que se sirve al revés: primero la carne, después la verdura y al final, la sopa. Otros, también con el nombre de cocido, prefieren la alubia al garbanzo: el cocido montañés, por ejemplo. 

Hay restaurantes expertos en cocidos. En Madrid destacan La Cruz Blanca de Vallecas de Antonio Cosmen, clásicos como Lhardy o La Bola, La taberna de la Daniela, Botín o Casa Carola. Se ha sumado recientemente el de Juanjo López, de la Tasquita, en La cocina de Frente. Y subrayaría el de El Charolés en San Lorenzo del Escorial, que es pantagruélico. Todos estos, sin ánimo de ofender, y los que usted diga incluyendo los de su señora suegra. Faltaría más.

Por toda España hay postas imprescindibles. Tiene fama el de Casa Coscolo en Catrillo de los Polvazares, en Astorga, donde añaden albóndigas al maragato. El mirador de Peña Colsa en Cantabria es por lo visto un espectáculo para papearse el cocido montañés. Casa Curra en Pontevedra, con grelos, habas y patatas. Es riquísimo el de Homenaje en Estepa, con morcilla. O el que cocina Can Maricanes en Girona, donde se puede probar la escudella i carn d´olla, una variante sabrosa que lleva butifarra y una masa de carne picada y especiada.

El cocido , «comida de curas», dijo el gran Álvaro Cunqueiro sabiendo que los clérigos siempre han tenido  como decimoprimer mandamiento comer bien. Un monumento a fuego lento. Una inmersión en la memoria familiar, de abuelos a nietos. Una de esas cosas tan profundas que no conviene tomárselas a la ligera porque reconfortan el alma. Hay cocido. Es otoño. The winter is coming. Y que usted lo vea.

Instagram: @anthdezrodicio / Twitter: @AHRodicio

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