Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Because I care.

Now, those of you Up North may scoff, but it has been getting relatively chilly in Florida these last couple of days. When that happens I start cooking the foods of my ancestral-types.

So, because I aim to benefit humanity in all I ever do (and because I want to remain on Karen's good side) I am posting probably the oldest recipe in our family, one dating back well over a few hundred years: Fabada.

Fabada derives its name from the type of bean used, called "Fabes." You will not find this bean (at least not reasonably priced) anywhere outside of Spain. So don't even bother to go look for it. What you want is the largest white bean you can get, but not lima beans or butterbeans. Cannellini beans are what I use.

And so, the recipe (this is as still made by my great-aunt María Cristina):

2¼ lb./1 kg of fabes
¼ lb./200gm Spanish NOT MEXICAN chorizo (I like the Palacios brand, but Goya is workable) and ¼ lb./200gm morcilla ("black pudding" or "blood pudding" or "blood sausage") or just go w. ½ lb. chorizo
¼ lb./200gm serrano ham (something like domestic prosciutto is ideal if you can't score the real deal) cubed ½" x ½" (1cm x 1cm)
1 medium yellow onion
1 quart/liter ham stock (from a couple of ham hocks -- not absolutely mandatory but so-o-o-o-o-o desirable...chicken stock or broth or even water will work, but the ham stocks contribute a bit of gelatin that makes this all unctuous and yummy...add water to come up to the correct amount)
Salt to taste (if you use the stock, be CAREFUL with the salt!)

[Basically you want a +/-3:1 or so ratio of beans to porky goodness)

1 pinch of saffron
1 tsp. of sweet Spanish paprika (also called "pimentón dulce" and it's OK if you don't find any that's actually Spanish, just as long as it's NOT the hot stuff you'll be fine. You have the option of regular or smoked paprikas. Your call.)
2-3 smashed cloves of garlic
¼ lb./200gm unsmoked lean bacon (think pancetta)

Soak the beans overnight.

(This part can me made wa-a-a-a-ay ahead) Put in the chorizo (and any bacon-like whatever) in a pot over low heat and render out its fat. Pour off most of it. Add ham, morcilla, diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Add saffron/paprika and let cool. This "base" will keep a week in the fridge and bloody near forever in the freezer.

Drain the beans, put them along with the porkified base in a stock pot and cover them with stock/water over medium low heat or in the CrockPotTM on "high" for a couple of hours.

Turn the heat to low. Let cook a couple of hours and then mash some of the white beans against the side of the pot. This will give the fabada some body. Stir and reduce heat to "warm" until dinner time. If it's thickening up too much, throw in a bit of water, the final texture should be like that of chili con carne.

It's even better the next day, as the lipid-soluble flavors get to travel throughout the fabada.

Pictures coming, I promise.



  • At 2:47 AM, October 29, 2008 , OpenID properlyscared said...

    I can smell it!! Yum.

    I have been to Asturias three times. Gorgeous and so ancient. Did an article on the Sudarium of Christ that few people, even Spaniards, know is kept in San Salvador Cathedral in Oviedo.

    MY host on one trip was a magistrate from Oviedo who worked in Burgos. He took me up a mountain about 10 miles outside of Oviedo (MonSacro) to show me an old Templar (octagonal) church built where King Alfonso (El Casto)
    and his "band of brothers " began the push back that became the Reconquista. I have some good pictures...including the goats who had no fear of humans.

    I left you a message in Karen's comment box--but in case you miss it, I've had amazing Alubias Navarre in Pamplona. Sigh...I could happily settle in Northern Spain.

  • At 2:49 AM, October 29, 2008 , OpenID properlyscared said...

    Faxed Fabada? Hmmn?


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