Fabada (Asturiana)

Yesterday I made Fabada - probably the 2nd best known dish of Spain after paella.
Basically it's a really excellent pork and beans.

Serves: 4 (maybe 6)

  • 500g dried Austurian Fabada beans (Fava beans, Butter beans)
  • 2 morcilla (spanish black sausage, not the rice version) 250g
  • 2 chorizo (sweet, not spicy, sausages) 250g
  • 250g pancetta (bacon) in one piece
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped very fine [or leave whole])
  • 1 pig's ear (or foot)
  • 1 large onion (whole)
  • 1 large carrot (whole)
  • bay leaf
  • saffron threads
Directions - short version
  1. Soak beans overnight
  2. Put all ingredients in a big pot (saffron at the end)
  3. Cook for 3 hours or so - don't boil it
  4. Remove onion, carrot, pig's ear, bayleaf, garlic (if whole)
Directions (and what I actually did):
  1. Soak beans in a bowl with lots of water (the dry beans should fill about 1/3 of the bowl and fill with water)
    8 hours. Overnight, the `book´ says 10-12 hours - depends of the beans
  2. If it's salted or smoked bacon you can soak that separatley
  3. I pricked the skin and boiled the chorizo for 2 miinutes to remove some of the intense red (paprika) color
  4. Discard water
  5. Put beans and all ingredients except the saffron into a very large pot (maybe a dutch oven, I used a glazed clay pot [barro]). Leave everything whole (althoough I quartered the onion 'cause it was huge).
  6. Cover with water (just barely). On a burner - high heat to start (I did 15 minutes). Some use chicken stock, maybe a light veal stock; I don't
  7. Skim off foam / skum (if any)
  8. Lower heat to medium, low, to avoid boiling - simmer only (to avoid breaking [smushing] the beans). Feel free to manipulate the heat level during cooking - I did)
    - Don't stir the pot - shake it instead (to avoid breaking the beans)
  9. Top up with water as required to keep the beans covered (to prevent them splitting)
    Or to kill the boiling action if it gets too active
    I put the timer on for 30 minute intervals to remember to check it
  10. Add a bunch of saffron threads when the beans seem to be `just about´ ready (I added them when I reheated it the next day)
  11. 3 hours (depends on the beans) - until they're tender
  12. Remove onion, carrot, pig's ear, bay leaf, whole garlic (everthing except the beans and meat)
  13. Leave to sit for 15 minutes (I left it overnight)

  14. Reheat in the same pot (which is when I added the saffron)

  15. If there's too much liquid (which is the case with mine) take a half cup of beans, puree them and return to the pot - to thicken the liquid (sauce)
That's it.

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