Made internationally infamous by Hannibal Lecter’s odd choice of diet in Silence of the Lambs, the Fabada asturiana bean casserole is the signature dish of Asturias and is enjoyed throughout all of Spain and is recognized as one of the most important dishes of the Spanish cuisine par excellence.
Fabada asturiana is made with fabes (white beans in Asturian), several types of sausages and pork, as well as spices such as saffron. These extra ingredients are often called the Compango. It’s so popular that several brands of processed food have it in their catalogues and sold in cans in supermarkets. It is a rich hearty meal that is great for replenishing energy stocks after rigorous activities.
Some say it is similar to Cassoulet from France that likely entered Spain though the French that took Camino de Santiago during the middle ages.
Every year the “Best Fabada of the World” competition is held in Asturias. The winners of the last years are:
- 2011 – Restaurante Casa Chema
- 2012 – Restaurante El Moreno
- 2013 – Restaurante El Llar de Viri
- 2014 – Restaurante Sidrería Bedriñana
- 2015 – Restaurante El Horru
- 2016 – Restaurante Vista Alegre
- 2017 – Restaurante Casa Chema
- 2018 – Restaurante El Gaucho Fierro
- 2019 – Restaurante La Sauceda
Ramon Huerta Nicholson introduces us to this classic dish and tells us what it takes to make the perfect Fabada Asturiana
Thanks to casachema.com for all their help.
Fabada Asturiana Recipe:
Ingredients (6 portions):
- 500 grams of white beans
- 250 of streaky bacon
- 2 chorizos
- 2 blood sausages
- 200 grams of ham bone
- 3 strands of saffron
- Extend the white beans on a flat surface. Remove those that are damaged. Wash them and leave them soaking for some 12 hours.
- Soak the streaky bacon, and the ham bone the night before to the preparation.
- In a pan, better if it’s low and wide (and even better if it’s a clay pot) add the beans with the same water in which they soaked. They must be covered with two fingers of water. Stir well and cook at high heat until it starts to boil.
- Once the water begins to boil add the streaky bacon, the chorizos, the ham bones and the blood sausages. Be sure to puncture the chorizos and blood sausages previously. Make sure that these two ingredients are always closer to the surface, as with too much heat they can break, which would ruin the fabada.
- Occasionally skim the broth, to make sure we remove the foam and also some fat.
- Lower the heat and add salt to taste, make sure you taste it first though, as the ham bone is quite salty.
- Let the fabada cook for two hours at low heat stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, careful not to damage the white beans. Add cold water twice.
- After two hours taste the fabada to check if the beans are tender (if not let it cook for a while longer) and add more salt if necessary. Once it’s ready remove from the fire and let it settle for an hour
- Remove the meat and sausages and dice, then they can be added to the fabes.
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