I scraped the ice off the van this morning, for the first time this autumn, signs that winter is not far away....time to make Fabada. OK, so what is Fabada?
It hails from the Asturias region of Northern Spain and is the most heavenly combination of butter beans with pork, smoked chorizo, smoked black pudding and pancetta, cooked in chicken stock with plenty of garlic, onion and a touch of saffron. It's a bit like Spain's answer to Cassoulet and the perfect antidote to the cold weather.
My version of this classic recipe is not totally authentic as I take a couple of short-cuts plus I add some fresh tomato to add a little acidity and include fresh pork for contrast. The traditional way to make this dish is to use dried butter beans which you soak overnight and cook for a couple of hours. I do sell the dried butter beans and you get a fantastic result if you are prepared enough, however, we also have the most wonderful soft Spanish butter beans in jars which give you an excellent result as well.
The absolute key to this dish is the Asturian Stew Pack that we sell, it contains the three essential elements to make this dish sing - a wonderful, naturally smoked chorizo sausage, a traditional smoked black pudding, known as morcilla and a piece of salted pork or pancetta.
There are two hours of cooking time involved, but the number of tasks is pretty minimal. So get this dish on early and you'll just love the end result.
Ingredients for Spanish Fabada Asturiana
1 x Asturain meat stew pack, all packaging removed
2 x jars Burcol butter beans
500g fresh pork belly, skin removed and diced into 1'' cubes
A pinch of sea salt
1 whole bulb of garlic (yes, the entire bulb), peeled and diced
2 x large white onions (1 peeled and left whole, 1 peeled and finely diced)
3 x fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
A pinch of saffron
750ml chicken stock
A good glug of olive oil
Chopped parsley to garnish
1. Using a large heavy casserole pot, heat a good glug of olive oil, season the cubes of pork belly with a pinch of salt and fry in the hot oil until they are nicely browned on all sides, then remove from the pan and set to one side. To avoid overcrowding the pan, you may need to do this in batches.
2. Heat the chicken stock, or if using Somerset Foodie chicken stock, mix this up with boiling water then add in the saffron to infuse.
3. Using the same pot (no need to wash, wipe or clean), throw in the diced onion and gently sweat these down. The pork belly should have rendered some its fat and this should be enough to cook the onions in, but if not, add a little more olive oil.
4. Once the onion is soft and beginning to turn golden, add in the chopped garlic and the smoked paprika. Cook for a minute, then add in the roughly chopped tomato.
5. After another couple of minutes, add back to the pot the pork belly and the Asturian meat stew pack. Pour over the saffron infused chicken stock, drop in the whole onion, bring to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on a gently simmer for about an hour and a half.
6. After an hour and a half, remove the lid and add in the butter beans. Bring back to a simmer and gently cook (without the lid) for a further half an hour.
7. The aim of the cooking time is to get the pork belly chunks beautifully tender and the pancetta so soft that you can pull it apart. It should be around the 2 hours of cooking mark, but cook for a little longer if needed.
8. Once everything is cooked, turn the heat off. Remove the whole onion and using a small blender or mini food processor, blend the onion into a puree, adding some of the liquid from the pot to loosen. Return this back to the pot and stir it through.
9. Finally, slice up the chorizo, black pudding and pancetta into bite size pieces (so everyone gets a bit of everything), return that back to the pot and serve with a scattering of fresh parsley and chunk of good bread.
Enjoy! Don't forget to tag us Somerset.foodie if you share this online, and leave a review for my recipe below. Ben
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