Having made the traditional recipe—which takes hours—we were thrilled to find this quick-and-easy version of the Spanish tapa known as Fabada Asturiana, a hearty stew of dried beans, sausage and other smoky, porky ingredients.
A number of years ago on our first trip to Spain, we were lucky enough to enjoy an authentic fabada, shown above, in the little Austurian town of Cabrales in Northern Spain. The Hubs liked it so much, he bought the ingredients and smuggled them home. Luckily (or not), because I had suffered a broken foot a few days earlier, we were whisked through airport customs back home, preventing our illegal meats and beans from being confiscated. (I don’t advise this tactic as a long term plan 🤣 )
I digress, back to the recipe at hand… Based on the changes from Milk Street, we pared back on the meats, using only chorizo and ham, both of which lend deep flavor to the broth. The dish gets its name from the large beans that are traditionally used in its preparation, but canned white beans work quite well. Preferred are the relatively large size and creamy texture of cannellinis, but great northern and navy beans are fine, too.
A pinch of saffron adds a very Spanish flavor and fragrance, while giving the stew an alluring golden hue. The color and flavor were also amped up from our homemade ham stock, which replaced the chicken broth.
The Hubs was sorely tempted to add a pinch of pimentón, but restrained himself from adding it to the stew. However, he did decide to sneak it onto the toasted crusty bread. BTW, it will serve six as a first course, or four as the main entrée.
TIP: Don’t overcook the chorizo and ham after adding it to the sautéed onion mixture. If the pieces begin to sear or brown, they’ll be chewy and rubbery in the finished dish. Cook only until the chorizo begins to release some of its fat.
- Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp. saffron threads
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 8 oz. Spanish chorizo, casings removed, halved and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. ham steak, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1½ qts. chicken broth, or ham stock, preferably homemade
- 3 15½-oz. cans white beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Warmed crusty bread, to serve
- In a large pot over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, saffron and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly softened, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the chorizo and ham, then cook, stirring, just until the chorizo begins to release its fat, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, beans and bay. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat as needed to maintain a simmer, for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay, then stir in the scallions. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.
Recipe adapted from Courtney Hill for Milk Street