Fabada asturiana, often simply known as fabada, is a rich Spanish bean stew, originally from and most commonly found in the autonomous community of Principality of Asturias, but widely available throughout the whole of Spain and in Spanish restaurants worldwide.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabada_asturiana
Here is the Spanish version of the pork and beans theme. It originates from Asturias on the north coast of spain, but is found throughout the country. Most of the other versions of this dish we’ve explored have at least a few vegetables in them, but this one, not so much. We cook it with some onion, but remove it before serving. Some of the recipes I found do include some carrots or potatoes, but as at it’s heart this is simply a dish of beans boiled with pork, sausages, paprika and saffron.
I splurged and purchased authentic faba beans from Despana.* These are a large white bean, traditionally used for this dish. They are delicious, but cannelini, lima, or any other large white bean would work as well. Since I was placing the order for authentic spanish ingredients I bought actual morcilla this time. The kiska I used in the Portugese Feijoada has a slightly different flavor due to the buckwheat, but I think I can now say that it’s a very acceptable substitute.
I also bought serrano ham. I may have been able to find this here in town, but adding it to my order was super easy. Prosciutto would be an acceptable substitute if you can’t find the serrano, although I like the flavor of serrano ham better. Here in the upper midwest you probably won’t find either serrano ham or prosciutto in any form other than pre-sliced unless you live in a major metro area or can find a restaurant that slices their own. I just peeled the slices apart and threw them in, and by the time the stew was done they had fallen apart into small pieces.
I just used the dry chorizo that I can find in the grocery stores here in town, but I think next time I will splurge on the softer semi-cured ones that I’ll have order. The texture of the dried ones remains pretty dry even after they have simmered for a couple hours.
The last special ingredient I ordered was Spanish paprika. There are two main varieties of paprika, Hungarian (which is what you get if you buy a jar labeled “paprika” in the USA), and Spanish. In general they are fairly interchangeable, but when cooking something either Hungarian or Spanish, I prefer to use the correct one. In general the Spanish variety is less intense, and in my opinion brighter flavored than Hungarian. Of course they both come in a variety of grades from sweet to spicy, and the most famous Spanish variety is of course the smoked one (I have seen it claimed that all Spanish paprika is smoked, although I don’t believe this is actually true).
This recipe introduces another variation on the soak/ don’t soak/ how to cook beans mythology. It seems to be standard practice to not only soak the beans and change the water before cooking, but to then change the water again after they come to a boil the first time. In researching the fasole recipe I actually came across a couple recipes that called for two changes of water before the actual cooking. Unfortunately I’m usually pretty gassy even when I’m not eating beans, so I probably can’t accurately report on whether or not this method make any difference to the fart factor.
Prep: 5-10 minutes
Total: 2:20 plus soaking time.
1 ¼ lbs. dry large white beans
45 oz. canned white beans, drained
8 ½ cups water
8 oz. dry Spanish chorizo
4 links sweet semi cured chorizo
12 oz. cured pork belly (pancetta, tocino, etc.)
½ lb. slab bacon
1 large ham hock (1 lb +)
6 oz. Serrano ham or prosciutto
2 medium onions, peeled and halved
6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed.
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon saffron
1 Tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
11 oz. morcilla or similar blood sausage
Salt to taste
¼ lb. salt pork
2 small links spicy semi cured chorizo
2 large carrots
2 small potatoes
Soak dry beans overnight. Drain, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil, remove from heat and drain.
Cover beans with 8 ½ cups of cold water. Leave all the meats whole or in large chunks and add all of them except the morcilla to the pot, along with the onion, garlic, bay leaves, spices and olive oil. (If you are using canned beans reduce water to 6 cups, simmer the meats on their own, and add the beans when you add the morcilla.)
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beans are beginning to soften. Add morcilla and cook for another 30 minutes or so, until beans are soft.
Remove meats and sausage from pot and set them aside to cool slightly. Remove onion, garlic cloves and bay leaves and discard. When meat is cool enough to handle, remove and discard any skin or bones, and cut it into bite sized pieces. Return to the pot, stir, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with some crusty bread, and a nice Spanish red wine, or Sidre (cider) as they would in Asturia.
edited 6/20/2021 to correct bean/meat/liquid ratios using canned beans. See Fabada Asturiana, revisited for more details.
*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.