La Rayúa and its famous two-serving cocido madrileño
The center of Madrid hides a small but great restaurant called La Rayúa. There you will find a spectacular cocido madrileño. Do you dare?
Cocido madrileño is one of the most famous dishes of the traditional gastronomy of Madrid. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most unknown among the thousands of tourists who visit the city every year. It is a stew whose main ingredient is chickpeas accompanied by different types of meat, sausages, and vegetables. Like most traditional dishes, its origin is humble, reaching popularity in the upper strata of society due to its inclusion in the menus of many restaurants.
Today, many establishments offer it on their menu. But if you are looking for one of the best in the center of Madrid, you should know La Rayúa and its two-serving cocido madrileño. Will you join us?
The Rayúa where tradition and innovation come together
If there is a surname associated with cocido madrileño in the capital of Spain, it is Verdasco. This family settled in Madrid in 1870. That year, La Rayúa, the family’s matriarch, inaugurated the restaurant La Bola, which quickly became famous for its cocido madrileño.
Since then, the family has run the establishment until it has become a reference in Madrid. Gradually they have been expanding the family business until 2014, the year that “La Rayúa” was inaugurated as a clear tribute to the nickname that grandmother Verdasco had. And naturally, its specialty is the cocido madrileño, cooked in individual clay pots over a slow fire of oak charcoal.
If you want to know where it is located, this map will be of great help.
First serving of the cocido madrileño at La Rayúa: the soup
Cocido madrileño, like many others, requires a specific protocol when it is served. In the first serving, the most liquid part of the dish is presented, in other words, the soup. Historically, this soup was just a broth. But, over the years, restaurants added noodles or rice to it. Also, it is usually accompanied by chili peppers that are bitten while drinking the soup.
In this case, the first serving starts from a plate with noodles over which the soup is poured. This gives them the intense flavor of the stew. Honestly, we found this first dish simply spectacular. We loved it!
First serving of the cocido madrileño at La Rayúa: the stew
Although cocido madrileño is usually served in three servings, the tradition of this restaurant is to unify the last two in just one. For this reason, the chickpeas and the meat are served at the same time. Among its ingredients, we could count, in addition to the chickpeas, beef, chorizo, bacon, and potatoes.
To be honest, the last servings in other restaurants are usually much more abundant and with more variety of ingredients. In fact, many establishments give the cocido madrileño as a gift to those diners who are able to finish it completely. Unfortunately, this was not the case because due to its size and delicious flavor, I was able to leave the dish empty.
As it could not be otherwise, this dish was accompanied by its traditional condiments which are onion, cabbage, and a kind of tomato sauce made with diced tomatoes that are heated with garlic and chopped cumin thickened with chickpea puree.
All in all, enjoying the food at La Rayúa is not a difficult task. Honestly, this is the first time we went to try the cocido madrileño but it has not been the first time we visit the restaurant. No matter if you decide to try this traditional dish, grilled meats or rice, your choice will be the right one.
The only negative point I would like to remark about La Rayúa is that, although the treatment of the staff is correct, they have such a heavy workload that they seem to be overwhelmed. This generates friction between colleagues, producing comments and disputes among them that can make diners uncomfortable. Even so, and taking this into account, this is a place I will never tire of going to or recommending.
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