Recipe for Fabada Asturiana

Fabada500g La Granja DOP beans (or butter beans)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 chorizo Asturiano (Asturian chorizo or smoked cured chorizo)
2 morcilla Asturiana (Asturian black pudding or smoked cured black pudding)
200g panceta curada (cured bacon)
200g hueso de jamón (cured ham bone)
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 bay leaf
1tbsp Pimentón de La Vera DOP (or smoked sweet paprika)

Prep begins 12 hours in advance / 3 hours cooking / serves 6

This dish is typical of Asturias (in Northern Spain) but very popular all over the country. It is easy to get it wrong, but follow a few tips and you’ll make us cry with emotion at a proper Fabada Asturiana.

First, the choice of ingredients is very important. Top quality is a must. The main reason  this dish can go wrong is because of not choosing SMOKED cured meats. Unsmoked meats are very common all over Spain but smoked ones are very characteristic of Asturias and they have been used for ages in this hearty recipe, so try to stick as much as possible to the directions (Martin’s Butchers import these cherished goods). The beans are very important and some Spanish delis sell them, although butter beans do the job and they are easy to find in almost every grocery.

The night before

Pour beans into a large pot or bowl and cover with cold water very generously (you don’t want them to grow too much overnight because if they are not completely covered they will split). Add bicarbonate of soda to the water to neutralise very hard water that wouldn’t do the job of softening the beans.

Soak chorizo and black pudding in one bowl, and soak bacon and ham bone in another bowl overnight too.

On the day

Drain water from the beans. Place beans in a large pot of cold water with the garlic, onion and bay leaf. Place on stove and turn on high. Once the water boils, drain the meats and add them to the pot. Add the paprika.

Cover the pot half-way and simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours. Check the beans: they should not be ‘al dente’, but tender. Taste and add salt if necessary, although the smoked cured meats are salty so you may not need to add any.

Cut the meats into serving-size pieces. Serve in soup bowls with crusty bread and Sidra Asturiana DOP (or any dry apple cider).

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