** Just to begin…I composed this post last week when the household was fully engrossed in a nightly dose of European football. My internet crashed on Tuesday evening and I have been without access to the cyber world since. Of course the European Championships have now come and gone (for those not watching the final was last night) but the post was written and awaiting publication so here it is…
I know football isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve enjoyed watching the European Championships, especially some sexy football from some equally sexy players (yes cliché I know, but I’m a sucker for a man with strong thighs and dark-eyes…all those Mediterranean Lothario’s win me over any time!). So to celebrate some sexy Spanish football, here is a recipe for one of the most popular dishes served at supper club over the Spring. Fabada Asturiana is a traditional Spanish pork and bean stew (Fabada typically large white beans and Asturian region where it originates).
It’s simple, but still strong, robust, full of depth, authentic and very tasty (like a Spanish footballer perhaps!). Despite its simplicity it’s not a shy retiring stew; it really is full of meaty oomph! Served as a smaller starter or as a main course it is definitely not for the vegetarian; it’s a real celebration of all things pork. To recreate this great dish, which I didn’t get to take a picture of (but I will add one next time I make it) I used the very best local ingredients from some of my favourite suppliers.
450g dried haricot or cannellini beans (soaked over night), olive oil, 150g dry cure smoked bacon cut into cubes, 2 cooking chorizo cut into small chunks, 1 morcilla (a Spanish type of black pudding, but I used a locally made black pudding instead), 700g lean pork fillet, cut into small chunks, 1 large red onion finely chopped, 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or crushed, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 bay leaves, a good pinch of chilli flakes, pinch of saffron, 200g shredded swiss chard, spring cabbage or spinach
The day before, place the beans in bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak over night.
The next day rinse the beans and place in a pan with cold water. Bring to the boil and then immediately drain and rinse with cold water again. Do this again then leave to drain.
In a large clean pan heat the olive oil then add the onion, bacon lardon, pork fillet and chorizo. Fry for a few minutes until beginning to brown then add the garlic, chilli, bay leaves and paprika. Stir fry again for another couple of minutes then tip in the drained beans saffron and about a litre and a half of water (or light vegetable stock). Bring to the boil then turn the heat down low to simmer.
Keep the heat very low so the ingredients can simmer gently, for anything between one and a half (the length of the average football match) to three to four hours (if it goes to extra time and penalties!). You want to make sure the beans are cooked and the stew is nicely thickened but basically you can leave it as long as you need to.
When the beans are almost done add the morcilla and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes more, then add the swiss chard or spinach. Once this has wilted down you are done! Check the seasoning (you may need a little more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste) and serve with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.
This is great on a cold damp day (we’ve had a few of those lately!) but it is also good served along with a fresh summery salad and a glass of Spanish red wine or traditional Asturian Cider.