An alternative to bean and meat “chili” at this year’s Super Bowl party is the hearty stew from the Spanish region of Asturias known as Fabada. One of this northern region’s claims to gastronomic fame, Fabada is great for feeding a crowd and is really para chuparse los dedos—They’re “finger-sucking good”. Fabada is even sold in a can in supermarkets all across Spain, but you haven’t truly experienced this savory mountain stew until you’ve sample it in its purest form: Simmered long and slow with lots of love and plenty of pork.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, Chili is incredible, but Asturian Fabada is outstanding, and the perfect pairing with any number of hearty Spanish red wines from Monsant, Priorat, Rioja or Ribera del Duero.
- 1 kg dried “Faba de la Granja” beans (I.G.P beans from Asturias). Dried Cannellini can be substituted
- 5 each Spanish morcilla (Spanish blood sausage)
- 5 each Spanish chorizo (cured paprika sausage)
- 650 gr fresh pork belly
- Water (as needed)
- 2 teaspoons of sweet spanish paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons of Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled whole
- 2 garlic clove, peeled whole
- The preparation begins the night before when you must put the dried beans to soak (leave them overnight in water with plenty of space to swell). In a large, heavy-bottomed pot add all of the ingredients (the sausages remain whole) and add enough cold mineral water to cover everything by two fingers’ width. Bring the pot to a simmer, and then “scare” the beans by cutting the boil with a small stream of cold water, as this eases the cooking an avoids splitting of the beans. Allow the pot to simmer slowly and steadily, cutting the boil two more times before leaving it to cook for a total of three to three-and-a-half hours.
- Skim the surface periodically, and make sure that the beans always stay covered by water (add cold water whenever needed). Once the meat is very tender and the beans have taken on their famous unctuous, buttery texture, allow the stew to sit and thicken slightly while you fish out the chorizo, morcilla, and pork belly. Chop up the meat into enough large pieces to feed the crowd—some people add the meat back in, others serve it on its own platter, to be added according to each diner’s preference.