Asturian Bean Stew (Fabada Asturiana)

Fabada Asturiana, often simply known as Fabada, is a rich Spanish bean stew, originally from Asturias, but widely available throughout the whole of Spain and in Spanish restaurants worldwide. It’s a hot and heavy dish and for that reason is most commonly eaten during winter and at the largest meal of the day. It is typically served with crusty bread.

Fabada is made with dried large white beans (fabes de Granja, soaked overnight before use), shoulder of pork (lacón Gallego) or bacon (tocino), black pudding (morcilla), chorizo and saffron.

The Spanish “Olla Podrida” and southern “French Cassoulet” are both similar to fabada asturiana. “Boston Baked Beans” also have some similarities in that they use pieces of pork fat and white beans.

Ingredients (6-8 people):
700g white beans (soaked in water overnight)
1 large onion, cut into chunks (cebolla)
3 large carrots, cut into 2 or 3 (zanahorias)
4 chorizos (1 Asturiana and 3 normal)
1 or 2 black puddings (morcillas Asturianas)
1 ham bone (punta de jamón)
300g piece salted bacon (tocino salado en una pieza)
400-500g piece shoulder of pork, optional (paletilla cerdo o lacón, opcional)
Whole head of garlic, washed and with loose skin removed (cabeza de ajo)
1 tsp paprika (pimentón)
1 tsp salt (sal)
2 bay leaves (hojas de laurel)
A good pinch of saffron threads (buena pizca de azafrán)
1/2 glass good quality virgen olive oil

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain, rinse, place in a large casserole, cover with water again and bring to the boil. Drain immediately and rinse under cold running water. This process is supposed to prevent the beans from losing their skins whilst cooking.

Now return the beans to the casserole and add all the remaining ingredients but the potatoes and black pudding/chorizo which are of the “Asturiana” type (as these give the stew too strong a flavour to add at the beginning).  Cover well with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for around 3 hours, skimming off any scum which may form at the beginning. About 45mins before the end of cooking time, add the potatoes and Asturian variety of black puddings/chorizo.

When cooking time is completed, take a couple of ladles of beans and liquidize with a few ladles of sauce until the desired consistency is reached.

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