This is a quick-and-easy version of the Spanish tapa known as Fabada Asturiana, a hearty stew of dried beans, sausage and other smoky, porky ingredients. Typically morcilla—which is blood sausage—and pork belly are main ingredients but Milk Street pared back on the meats, using only chorizo and ham, both of which lend deep flavor to the broth.
Once a simple country dish, fabada is now a venerated symbol of the Asturias region of Spain. The dish gets its name from the large beans that are traditionally used in its preparation, but here canned white beans such as cannellinis work well—and save time. No soaking beans or cooking for hours!
Milk Street prefers the relatively large size and creamy texture of cannellinis, but they say great northern and navy beans are fine, too. A pinch (make that a large pinch) of saffron adds a very Spanish flavor and fragrance, while giving the stew an alluring golden hue. Fabada is a hot and heavy dish and for that reason is most commonly eaten during winter, or cool months.
One huge misstep for us was not using our homemade ham stock in place of chicken broth. Either one, it was super tasty, and even better the next day when the flavors had a chance to marry (and go on a honeymoon 😉 )
RULE No. 18: Don’t Let Neutral Ingredients Stand Alone.
8 oz. Spanish chorizo, casings removed, halved and thinly sliced
8 oz. ham steak, cut into ½-inch cubes
1½ qts. ham or chicken broth, preferably homemade
3 15½-z. cans white beans, rinsed and drained
3 bay leaves
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Warmed crusty bread, to serve (optional)
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 leaves. 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 leaves, then stir in the scallions. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.
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.
This Slavonian-Style Shepherd’s Stew from the Slavonia region of Croatia, čobanac is a meat-centric stew rich with paprika and thickened in part by shredded root vegetables that break down during a long, slow simmer. Though referred to as shepherd’s stew (čoban translates as shepherd), the dish traditionally is made with not only lamb but also beef, pork and wild game. Milk Street simplified the dish using only beef; with chuck roast as the cut of choice for its meaty flavor, nice marbling and ample connective tissue that helps make a full-bodied broth.
NOTE: To achieve just the right amount of earthy flavor and an undercurrent of spicy heat, use both sweet and hot paprika. We didn’t have hot paprika, so 2 teaspoons sweet paprika plus ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper made a fine substitution. Be aware, this recipe uses a LOT of paprika, so make sure to have enough on hand from the start.
Simple dumplings are a classic—and delicious—addition to this stew, but they are not essential. If you’d like to include them, you can obtain the recipe from Milk Street online. The dough is made and added to the pot at the end of cooking. We chose to make the Croatian Mashed Potatoes instead (recipe follows).
TIP: The original recipe calls for 6 cups of water, but in the end, our broth was very thin and watery so we reduced it, uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. To avoid this, use only 4 cups water, or make and insert the dumplings which help soak up the liquid.
It is recommended not to use double-concentrated tomato paste (the type often sold in tubes) or the stew will end up tasting too tomatoey. As you cook the tomato paste and vegetable mixture, don’t worry if the paste sticks to the pot and begins to darken; this browning helps build depth of flavor.
In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium, combine the oil, onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic and parsley stems, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ¼ cup sweet paprika, the hot paprika and bay. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the wine and 6 cups water, then bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring often. (If not making the dumplings which help soak up some of the liquid, you may want to use only 4 cups water which will make the broth less thin.)
Stir in the beef and return to a simmer. Reduce to low, cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the beef meets no resistance, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the bay.
In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and the mustard. Whisk about 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the tomato paste mixture, then stir it into the pot. Return to a simmer over medium-high, then stir in the parsley leaves and half the dill. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining dill.
Croatian restani krumpir is a hearty, rustic dish of mashed potatoes studded with onions that are sautéed until soft and sweet, oftentimes seasoned with paprika and brightened with fresh herbs. Milk Street’s version is a one-pot recipe—the onion is caramelized, removed and set aside while the potatoes cook. Rather than boiling whole or chunked potatoes in copious water, instead they are sliced unpeeled and steamed in a covered pot with only enough water to facilitate even cooking and prevent scorching. This keeps the potatoes from absorbing lots of moisture so the finished dish tastes rich and earthy instead of thin and washed-out. This dish is a perfect the Slavonian stew.
Tip: Don’t forget to rinse the sliced potatoes before cooking. Rinsing washes off excess starch so the finished dish has a creamy consistency and isn’t dense and gluey. Also, don’t undercook the potatoes—they should almost fall apart when poked with a skewer so they can be easily mashed with a wooden spoon.
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and sliced about ¼ inch thick
3/4 cup water
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
¼ tsp. sweet paprika, plus more to serve
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives, divided
In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and well browned, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and set aside; reserve the pot.
In a colander under cold running water, rinse the potatoes. Drain well, then add to the pot. Stir in ¾ cup water and 1 teaspoon salt, then distribute the potatoes in an even layer. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to medium and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the slices almost fall apart when poked with a skewer, 18 to 20 minutes.
If there is water remaining in the pot, increase to medium-high and cook, uncovered and stirring often, until no moisture remains. (We had to cook ours another 7 minutes for the pot to become dry.)
Reduce to low, add the butter and cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes with a spoon, until the butter is melted and incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chives, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with additional paprika and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives.
Although this looks like a traditional beef stew recipe, it’s not made like one. While the beef—or lamb as in our recipe—braises in the oven, the carrots, mushrooms, and onions roast on a sheet pan alongside for a caramelized flavor. How’s that for a change?
We made this on a Sunday afternoon for a weeknight meal when we knew there wouldn’t be much time to prep dinner. But of course we had to taste-test the finished product. WOW, it was fantastic. The lamb (you could use stew beef instead) was super tender and the sauce was so silky and full of flavor.
Instead of one or the other, we used both carrots and parsnips. If you choose to include parsnips, make sure to remove the woody core before cooking them.
4 carrots or parsnips, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces, or 2 cups baby carrots
2 cups sliced cremini or button mushrooms
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1 cup frozen peas
2 croissants, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (optional)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Arrange oven racks, placing one rack at the lowest level. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a 5- to 6-qt. Dutch oven heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high. Add half the beef and bacon; cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl. Add an additional 1 Tbsp. olive oil, remaining beef and bacon, and the sliced garlic to Dutch oven. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return all meat to Dutch oven. Stir in tomato paste; cook and stir 2 minutes.
Carefully add wine, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Reserve 1/2 cup of the 50%-less-sodium beef broth. Add remaining broth to meat mixture. Stir in thyme and 1/2 tsp. each salt and ground black pepper. Bring to boiling. Cover and place pot on the lower oven rack; braise 1 hour.
In a small bowl whisk together reserved 1/2 cup broth and the flour; stir into beef mixture. Stir in barley. Bake, covered, 35 minutes more or until barley is tender and stew is thickened.
Meanwhile, in a shallow baking pan combine carrots, mushrooms, onion, remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place on a separate oven rack; roast, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring once.
Stir vegetables and peas into stew; let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
OPTIONAL: For croutons: Line a shallow baking pan with foil. In a large bowl combine croissant chunks, melted butter, minced garlic, and parsley; toss to mix. Spread croissants evenly in prepared pan. Bake 5 minutes or until toasted; let cool. Serve croutons over stew.
*If you sub in brown rice, increase baking time in Step 3 to 45 minutes.
You know we love all-things-Spanish, so it went without saying that when we saw this Spanish Shrimp and Chickpea Stew recipe from Milk Street, we were immediately intrigued. It seems at Palacio Carvajal Girón, in the Extremadura region of Spain, Milk Street staff tasted a delicious shellfish and chickpea stew that was rich and redolent with locally produced smoked paprika. Requiring both a ham- and langoustine-infused broth and made with dried chickpeas, the dish was a time- and labor-intensive preparation.
Their much-simplified version captures the essence of the stew in just a fraction of the time. It uses canned chickpeas for convenience, and the broth gets flavor from bottled clam juice and the viscous liquid from the chickpeas. A combination of Spanish smoked paprika and standard sweet paprika gives the stew deep color and earthy complexity without overwhelming the shrimp.
Don’t forget to reserve ½ cup of the liquid before draining the can of chickpeas. The liquid adds both body and flavor to the broth. When peeling the shrimp, don’t remove the tails because they also lend flavor to the broth. But do remove the tails when halving the seared shrimp so that the pieces are easier to eat in the finished stew. In all honesty, you can skip this step if you don’t mind serving the shrimp whole with tails intact.
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 Lb. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 Tbsp. salted butter
1 Medium leek, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, rinsed and dried
4 Medium garlic cloves, minced
15½ Oz. can chickpeas, ½ cup liquid reserved, drained
8 Oz. bottle clam juice
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve
In a medium bowl, stir together both paprikas and ¾ teaspoon pepper; measure 2 tablespoons into a small bowl and set aside. Add the shrimp to the paprika mixture in the medium bowl and toss to coat; set aside.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp in an even layer; reserve the bowl. Cook without stirring until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, return the shrimp to the bowl. In the same pot over medium, melt the butter.
Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and the reserved paprika mixture, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the chickpeas, the reserved chickpea liquid and the clam juice. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Meanwhile, remove the tails from the shrimp and cut each in half crosswise. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shrimp along with accumulated juices.
Cover and let stand until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley and drizzled with additional oil.