Recipe // Fabada Asturiana (Asturian bean stew)
I cameback from Kathmandu two days ago. I arrived home on Saturday morning after a 5 hours flight followed by 1 h ferry ride (HK-Macau), and altough it wasn´t a long traject, I came home physically tired and emotionally exhausted.
These two past days I have been very silent, avoiding at all cost any kind of personal comunication. (I tend to that very often when I reached my levels). Kathmandu is a city that very easily can absorb your energy and your brains, or at least that is my own personal experience. Therefore, I had to make a stop and have a conversation with myself.
I feel much better now. In fact, I´m happy because my husband is arriving tomorrow morning from Kathmandu and I know he will also touch base pretty tired. But I have plans not to let this happen.
Today I´ve spent some time thinking how to make him feel home after 2 long weeks away. I bought some fresh flowers, arranged them in some nice recycled milk bottles because as Holly said, we all need to make sunshines. I cleaned up the house, changed the bed sheets and cooked a hearty bean soup because my man loves soups .
Soup is right know in the burner, if it turns out nicely, you will hear about it. But actually, the reason I´m cooking a bean soup is because a few weeks ago I prepared a Fabada Asturiana (it was Régis first time). That day was bloody cold (at least for our tiny little island standards) and my hubs was burned out from non stop Christmas-NYE season´s work. I served him a big bowl of Fabada, inoncently hoping he will be satisfied with just one serving. I had some secret plans to share some bean stew with our super friendly Spanish neighbor whom whenever he cooks any Spanish dish such as paella or tortilla de patatas knocks on our door to share a little piece of his country with us.
That didn´t happened.
Régis asked for seconds, and if possible he would ask for third servings but the Asturian bean stew was gone.
I felt sorry not to share my fabada with my kind Spanish neighbor. I know, no tengo perdon. And is such a bad karma, but my hub´s happy face payed in advance for everything (I just gave my neighbor a big slice of a gluten free chocolate cake, so I hope there will be no hard feelings).
This dish is to Asturias what Paella to Valencia. Its trademark. Luckily I, grew up eating this stew thanks to my parents` friend Juanita (I mentioned her before here) who was an excelent cocinera. She taught my Mother how to prepare this homey dish that can heal a winter cold or a broken heart. Even though my Mami´s recipe is very good, I have the sligth feeling she has tropicalized the recipe a bit. Therefore, I looked amongst my Spanish blogger friends for an answer, and I found Cova´s recipe was all I was looking for.
Now warning number one: Fababa is all about quality ingredients.
I´m sad to report that you may not be able to obtain a good Fabada if you cannot find fabes ( Asturian beans) to start with. Then you will also need some wonderful, big, thick, fat pieces of artisanal tocineta (panceta), chorizo and morcilla (boudin). And let´s not forget about azafrán (saffron), this sensual expensive spice is what will crown your stew with grandeur.
Warning number two: Fabada is about patience and respect.
Its ingredients list may seem humble, in fact its origins are very humble but don´t be foolished. This Asturian Stew is so not fast food. You must soak the beans thoroughly overnight, then drain them and then cook them in a casserole at low heat.
Yes. A labour of love.
I believe you can buy some Fabada Asturiana sets as this one from any Gourmet Specialty Store.
If not, now you have a reason to fly to Asturias.
Fabada (Asturian bean stew)
250 grs fabes also knows as alubias (alubia beans)
1 piece chorizo
1 piece boudin/black pudding/ blood sausage
1 piece of bacon (pancetta style)
2-3 pinches of saffron
Place beans in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak overnight
The next morning discard the soaking liquid and drain the beans.
Place drained soaked beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add the compango (chorizo, morcilla, tocino) bring to a boil. Reduce heat to almost the minimum and let it cook for around 3 hours. Make sure fabes are always covered in water. Add cold water as many times as necesary to make sure this happen, otherwise your fabes will end breaking up.
When the beans are half cooked add the saffron pinches (to your taste).
Add salt when beans are cooked.
When the beans are thoroughly cooked, turn down the heat and let the stew rest for at least half an hour.
At some point of the cooking the stew will start to make some froth. Make sure to skim the surface as many times as necessary.
Serve hot alongside a nice crusty artisanal bread.
This is one of those dishes it keeps getting better with time.