Gallego refers to someone or something from Galicia, the lush, verdant region in northwest Spain, directly north of Portugal, while caldo means broth. If you ate this dish in five different restaurants or homes, you would invariably enjoy five different versions. Beans, pork in some form, and greens are the basics that everyone agrees on, but beyond that it depends on what is in season and what is in the garden. Our version evolved from having to make it to order, or à la minute, as the French say. Therefore all the components are cooked separately and combined at the end in the pork broth. This also means that everything can be cooked ahead of time for entertaining at home, and put together at the last minute.
Beverage pairing: Bodegas Viña Mein, Spain. White beans, chard, potatoes, onions, and carrots are all very earthy flavors and call for a wine equally based in flavors of the soil. Since the soup is from Galicia, it’s not a bad idea to try a white wine from the same area. The main grape in this wine’s blend is the unheralded Treixadura, which makes unremarkable wine elsewhere in the world, but on Spain’s green west coast conjures up apricots, cantaloupes, and other assorted melons, all of which blend a mellow fruitiness with a connection to the soil. Texturally, the wine is bright and zesty, a good foil for the heartiness of the soup.