There's nothing quite like leaning over a steaming bowl of fabada and inhaling its hearty scent. It's practically a hug in a bowl. The rich sausage and bean stew may come from the Asturias region in the north, but today it's everywhere.
The famed beans – fabes de la Granja – are the star of the show. They're soaked overnight before being packed into a pot with pork shoulder, bacon, chorizo and black pudding. Saffron is added for an extra zing, giving this simple dish a tangy and subtle ochre tint.
Starter or main, tapas or snack, it's up to you. We're fans of it with a fresh piece of crusty bread and a decent Rioja though.
It's the perfect dish for a cold winter's day – although if you want to tuck in at any other time of the year, we won't judge.
Fabes have been eaten in Asturias since the 16th century, but they were probably grown in the countryside before that too. People mixed the beans in with leftover meat to make their dinner go further – accidentally stumbling on the delicious white bean stew.
Experts believe the stew was first made in the cities rather than in the countryside. Some even say that it started as a French dish – cassoulet – and was brought here by invaders during the Middle Ages. We do have records from 1884 of fabada asturiana as we know it today, and however it got here, we're glad it did. There's a reason it's one of the favourite dishes at El Raitan – sometimes you can't beat a classic.
A good fabada asturiana wouldn't be a proper fabada asturiana without the beans. Even the meat is secondary to these beauties.
They're specially grown in the Asturias region and protected by strict laws. This control, along with the fertile soil in the area, guarantees creamy, rich beans that are the main event. The fusion with chorizo and morcilla creates a salty, savoury sauce that's ideal at any time of the day. Get it as a small plate from Llesqueria Matagana, and enjoy it alongside your other favourite tapas.
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