When I was invited to discover how the real murcian “arroz” is cooked, I did not imagine I was going to live this experience inside the kitchen of one of the most well known restaurant in Madrid. It was a pleasant surprise that I’ve really appreciated.
I do believe there is not a better way to taste a traditional recipe than to see and experience with the five senses how it is made directly from the owner of an historic restaurant like Sergio from El Caldero.
This 44 years old Madrid’s restaurant has been founded by Sergio’s father due to his strong passion for food passed on by his mother, who was not a professional cooker but more importantly was a professional tradition holder.
When you see how the traditional «caldo» (the essence of the rice soup) is made, how many hours it takes to cook and rest each phase, and the final result of course, you can only remain speechless.
The “El Caldero” brand new website is full of the most requested recipes, with all the ingredients needed, also for the arroz al caldero.
But let me show you some pictures.
The garlic is just cutted in the middle and entirely cooked in the oil that has previously been used to fried the “ñoras”, a particular black tiny pepper.
When the garlic is getting brown, a special kind of tomatoes, that needs to be super ripped, are added.
The black pepper dried before are not thrown away off course and as you can you they are mixed with oil and need to rest for hours before cooking.
In less than one hour this is the result of the caldo sauce. It is not something that is supposed to be eaten with a spoon, but we could not resist anymore watching that mix with such a «buena pinta».
Time was running so we could not wait all the elaboration of the “caldo”, so our rice was cooked with another already rested “caldo”.
At this point it was very interesting to see how the “arroz” is cooked in the “caldero”, because I am a risotto master and the technique is completely different. The risotto is cooked slowly, one spoon of broth after the other, keep mixing up the rice. The “arroz el caldero” instead is cooked from the beginning with the whole broth needed, like boiling water.
It didn’t took so long for the rice to be ready, or maybe the appetizers from the menu that we were trying in the meanwhile were a good distraction from the cookers.
This mixed appetizer dish is not just an ordinary mix of ham, but also fish eggs and smoked “bonito”. I didn’t knew that the almonds in the middle should be eaten after the eggs because they help cleaning the teeth.
When the rice is ready the caldero pot is hanged on the traditional tripod, which is also the logo of “El Caldero”, and this is actually the way it will be served in the restaurant.
To me this have been an amazing and incredible experience, the discover of a traditional way of cooking rice in one of the very few murcian restaurant in Madrid.
I really can’t wait to be back with friends and family because the position of the restaurant in “Calle Huertas”, in my favourite “Barrio” of “Las Letras”, with its huge windows at the corner of the street.
I am also very curious to try the “Taberna” in “Travesía de Téllez 2”, close to “Atocha”, which has a very different atmosphere but I am sure the quality and the “Murcia en Madrid” feelings will be the same.
Restaurante Murciano: +34 91 429 50 44 (calle Huertas 15)
Taberna Murciana: +34 91 501 61 90 (Travesía de Téllez 2)