Fabada Asturiana is a rich pork and beans stew from the Asturias region of northern Spain. Asturias is a rugged mountainous region, and like most mountain food, fabada asturiana is simple and hearty.
Traditionally, the type of beans used for this stew is fabes de la granja – beans of the farm. As it is fairly difficult to find them in the US, you can use any kind of large white beans. I have used Spanish flat white beans here.
As with any old recipe, there are several variations going around, especially regarding the meat used. Different types of ham and bacon, chorizo and blood sausages were variously included. For this recipe, I have used ham hock, smoked bacon, slab bacon, and Spanish chorizo sausages. And believe me, it is one of the most flavorful stews I have ever tasted.
The smoked paprika in the dish enhances the flavors of the chorizo. And the saffron gives it a distinctive color and flavor.
The stew is started in cold water and the flavors are concentrated over slow simmering.
Fabada Asturiana is served with crusty bread, whole wheat being the best.
F is for Fabada Asturiana
- Soak the beans in cold water, 8 hours prior to the time the stew is to be cooked.
- When ready to cook the stew, drain the beans and add them to a large pot.
- Add onions (halved), garlic (whole), paprika, saffron, ham hock (whole), two types of bacon (whole), salt and pepper, along with 10 cups of cold water to the pot.
- Bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Continue to cook on simmer for 1 hour.
- Check the liquid level of the pot; liquid should be sufficient to cover the ingredients. If required, add more water.
- Continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
- Add the chorizos to the pot. Continue cooking till the beans are soft and the liquid is thickened to the consistency of gravy, for about 30 minutes more.
- Check seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, if required.
- When ready, pick up the ham hock, slab bacon and chorizo out of the pot using a slotted spoon and place them on a chopping board. Cut the meat from the ham hock into large pieces, discarding the bone. Cut the slab bacon and chorizo into bite size pieces.
- Place the meat back in the pot with the beans.
- Serve hot along with thick slices of crusty bread.