Apologies for the long interval between posts. Life does sometimes get in the way! The dish I am presenting today is the Asturian dish par excellence – fabada asturiana (eminently non-veggie-friendly – sorry!). It is, essentially, a very comforting bean-and-sausage stew which is fairly easy to make, although it does take at least a couple of hours to cook, which makes it the ideal dish to cook if you’re pottering around the house doing other things, as it requires minimal supervision. As it often happens with stews, it tends to taste better the day after you’ve cooked it, but you can certainly eat it on the same day. This is how you do it.
- 1/2 kilo “fabes” (large white kidney beans, best if you can get the real thing, but if not regular white kidney beans will do)
- 1 or 2 chorizos (I had to add one more, so probably two is best)
- 1 morcilla (Spanish black pudding, ensure you get the cooking one, as opposed to the snacking one!)
- 1 or 2 pieces of lacon (similar to ham hock)
- 1 small onion
- 1 – 2 bay leaves
- splash of olive oil
- couple pinches of saffron
- salt to taste
Recommended music to cook to: La Bandina “…de Romandela”
- VERY IMPORTANT: the fabes will need to be soaked prior to cooking, ideally overnight, but if not, 6-8 hours during the day will do. The lacon might need to be soaked too, if it is too salty.
- Once all ingredients are ready to cook, place the meat at the bottom of a large saucepan or medium pot; it doesn’t matter if it’s too large, as the fabes will increase in size when cooking. Place the fabes on top of the meat.
- Peel the onion and cut it into two halves; separate all layers and place them over the fabes and the meat. Add the bay leaves and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil.
- When the water gets to boiling point, you’ll need to “frighten” the fabes (I swear this is the proper term!) by pouring a bit of cold water into the pot. Turn the fire right down at this point, and cover the pot with the lid almost completely. If you are using saffron that hasn’t been dried (like the one in the photo), a way of drying it out is wrapping in a piece of white paper if it isn’t already wrapped, and placing it on top of the lid while the fabes cook, taking care to keep it dry.
- You can now leave the fabada to cook all by itself, keeping an eye on it to make sure the fabes never run out of water: they must always be just about covered in water. As and when the water runs low, “frighten” it again with a small glass of cold water – I normally check mine ever 20 minutes or so. If you want to rearrange the fabes in the pot for a more even cooking and to avoid sticking to the bottom, you can do this by shaking the pot. You must NOT use a kitchen utensil to do this, as this will most likely break them up.
- Fabada takes at least 2-3 hours to cook as it’s on such a low fire; when the fabes get to the point when they’re almost cooked but still a bit tough, take the saffron off the pot lid and grind it by using a rolling pin over it while it’s still wrapped in the paper. Add the ground saffron to the stew and stir.
- When the fabes are thoroughly cooked, remove the pot from the fire and leave to stand for a bit. Add salt at this point if necessary, although the meat is already salty, so you may not need to. As I said, you can even serve it the day after. When it’s ready to serve, take the “compangu” (the meat) out, and cut into pieces. Remove the bay leaves from the stew.
- Traditionally, the fabes and the compangu are served separately, but obviously up to you. Enjoy your tasty fabada! 🙂