January 16, 2017
Tapas come in many guises, from simple tortilla to London-centric ‘picture on a plate’ restaurant creations but often in Spain, and also Chez Ben’s, they can just be a ladle of whatever is in the pot at the time. Spain has an abundance of bean stews and Fabada Asturiana is, without question, the best known – almost the paella of the north. It's as simple as they come but totally dependent on the quality of the meat ingredients. Complete authenticity requires fabes de la granja (large dried runner beans) and a lightly smoked, semi cured morcilla (black pudding) that keeps it’s form when cooked but, in their place, I’ve used fava/butter beans, a piece of beef shin and griddled black pudding, added at the end but leave the black pud out altogether if you like. Let’s face it, back in the day, contents would depend on availability and I’m sure an Asturian farmer would have done the same. The mojo picon adds a little body to what can be a pretty thin broth. As with all these dishes, a slow cooker is ideal.
- Yields: Serves 8
1Soak the beans overnight.
2Drain and place in a large casserole with ham hock, shin, stock, onion, bay leaf, chilli and garlic head. You’ll probably need to cut the ham hock in half along the bone or it will stick out above the beans.
3Add cold water to cover and bring to the simmer and cook gently for two hours. Add water if the level drops and skim off any froth.
4Add the chorizo and mojo picon and cook for another 1½ hours.
5Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
6Remove the garlic, bay leaves, chilli, hock and beef.
7Discard the hock skin and bone, chop the meats into chunks and return to the pot.
8Squeeze out the garlic and mix it back in.
9Serve with greens and crusty bread.
10Dry cider would be the local’s choice but a robust red such will do. Our Doble Pasta Cien-y-Pico Garnacha Tintera would be perfect.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3-4 hours