Believe it or not, this food story involves motorsport. Mainly, however, it involves a Spanish casserole called Fabada Asturiana. The fabada bit means means ‘stew’, the Asturiana bit means that it originates from Asturias, in the north of Spain between Santiago de Compostela and Bilbao.
I got home from a work trip, and in the kitchen there is a box of packaged meat in the potatoes cupboard. I ignore it for a few days thinking that it is a box of saucisson from his mother. I’m not a huge fan of saucission, especially the more ‘typical’ varieties hence the snub.
It turns out that this box of meat comes from the mother of the Spanish rally driver and is full of chorizo and other goodies (there ends the motorsport bit). I unpack it and there is one packaged box called ‘Fabada Asturiana’. It looks promising so I read cooking instructions in spanish and it basically says soak the beans overnight and then put everything in a casserole dish, cover in more water and cook for three hours.
I warn Vincent that I’m going to cook it and he looks dismayed. It is probably because I’ve described it to him as a Spanish ‘cassoulet’. I’ve been banned from cooking things like cassoulet and boeuf bourguignon. Obviously I havn’t raised the subject of attempting a coq au vin or magret de canard. I promise that if things go awry we can have pasta with nothing which he seems to prefer.
I soak the beans overnight and they are huge. I Google the recipe as a back up in case my Spanish cooking vocabulary isn’t good enough. It means a second trip to the shops to buy saffron, because I’m cooking to the letter. And then another trip because I thought I had paprika but I didn’t, it is cumin.
One thing that I was a bit wary about was the blood sausage – a ‘morcilla’. I Googled that and as I suspected it is a tube of pigs blood. Vincent can have that. On the up side, the other chunks of meat to be added are a slab of bacon, some smoked ham and a chorizo.
So I throw them all in, cook for three hours and voila! It is delicious. The beans could do with a bit more cooking and Vincent ate one mouthful of the morcilla and put it to the side. But it really is delicious. I start to think of recipes for the rest of the meat that is in the box.
The recipe on the packet and those on Google are all the much the same and are as follows:
1 onion, peeled & chopped
1 head of garlic entire
1 cup dried fabes, cannellini or other large white beans— soaked overnight
1 tablespoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
1 pinch of saffron threads, crushed
1 big chunk of cured ham, or ham hock – approx. 400g
Same amount of bacon – entire, approx. 400g
1 decent sized chorizo sausage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the beans in a casserole dish, cover the a generous amount of water and the ham and bacon, onion, garlic, paprika and saffron. Cook on a low heat for about one hour, add the chorizo and morcilla and cook for another 1 ½ to two hours. Take off the fat as it rises to the surface.
Discard the onion & garlic and pull the ham off the bone or pull it to pieces and chop up the bacon and sausages.
Serve with a chunk of bread & red wine.
There is no affiliation between www.agathabertram.com and the company that distributes the meat packages. But if you are wondering it is La Union from Malleza – http://www.embutidoslaunion.es/pages/index/home.
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