Fabada Asturiana - meat and bean stew

Recipe by Neil Morris - 01 March 2013

fabada-asturiana

Region: Asturias

Preparation: 24 hours

Cooking time: 2-3 hours

Oven temp: on the hob

Difficulty: medium

Serves: 4+

non-veg-icon

Fabada asturiana is a famous Spanish meat and bean stew that originates, as the name suggests, from the region of Asturias but is popular all over Spain and the world. It is an extremely rich and hearty winter dish that is normally served at lunchtime in fairly small portions. It is often accompanied by a glass of Asturian cider.

To make Fabada, you need to plan in advance, as the beans will need soaking overnight first. Although this sounds like a chore, the end result is worth it and the dish itself is easy to cook. If you cannot find traditional white Asturian beans (called Fabes de la Granja and available in the USA from here), you can use haricot or butter beans instead.

The dish uses Asturian smoked Morcilla (similar to black pudding) which can be hard to find outside of Spain. I usually order it online in the UK from heremorcilla and it can also be purchased in the USA from La Tienda.

This is a very meaty dish and many traditional versions use even more meat with high fat content. This version is designed to be lighter and healthier but still retains all the flavour and character of the more traditional recipes.

The first time you taste Fabada is an experience you will not forget and I would encourage everyone to give it a go. There is no better way to add a touch of Spanish warmth to a cold winters day!

Shopping list

  • 400g white beans such as fabes, haricot or butter beans (fabes de la granja)
  • 200g pork shoulder (lomo de cerdo)
  • 200g Smoked Morcilla from Asturias - Spanish Black Pudding
  • 200g chorizo
  • 1 onion (cebollo)
  • 6-8 galric cloves (dientes de ajo)
  • 2 bay leafs (hoja de laurel)
  • saffron (azafrán)
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimentón dulce)
  • 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika (pimentón picante)
  • cider (sidra) *optional*

Method

Place the beans in a bowl of cold water and leave overnight and then skim any residue from the surface of the water with a small sieve.

Place the beans in a pan and bring to the boil for a minute, then drain and return to the pan with the pork, chorizo, onion (quartered), garlic cloves (peeled) and bay leaves. Cover well with water (I like to add a splash of cider too), bring to the boil and then return to a very low simmer. Then add a pinch of saffron (about 6-8 strands) and the paprika. Stir once, very gently and leave for 2 hours, shaking the pan occasionally rather than stirring.

After 2 hours, add the morcilla and cook for another 30 minutes until the beans are just tender.

Once it is ready, remove the meat and cut into bite size pieces. Spoon the beans into bowls with some of the sauce and place the meat pieces amongst the beans. Serve with some crusty bead and a glass of good cider.

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