Fabada – Asturian Sausage and Beans

When we travelled to the distant north of Spain, we bought back some foodie memories with us. Well, a little more than memories, we bought back beans and smoked meats to make the famous Fabada.

It´s one of those dishes which needs the authentic smoked blood sausage (morcilla), chorizo and pork to achieve the “real” taste, but it also lends itself to “making do” depending on the ingredients you have to hand.

The ingredients given below can be interpreted fairly loosely to make a lovely bean, ham and sausage stew if you can´t get hold of the Asturian versions.  I also like to be lighter with the meat than some people, so feel free to add more. This recipe will serve six as a main course, but it does keep well for about 5 days in the fridge.

You´ll need

  • 1kg of Fabes (or any large dried white beans)
  • 1 small blood sausage
  • 1 or 2 chorizo (depending on the size)
  • About 100g piece of smoked or unsmoked or salted pancetta or pork belly (or use chunky lardons)
  • ½ teaspoon of saffron or add a teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika or pimentón instead
  • 2 bay leaves

This dish really improves by making it the day before you want to eat it, although it´s not essential, and if you have an earthenware bowl to cook it in, even better!  The day before making the dish put your beans into soak in plenty of water.  In a separate bowl of water soak any smoked or salted meats.

Using the water you soaked the beans in, put them in your cooking pot with about a depth of  3cm of water above them.  Bring to the boil then skim off the froth which will appear. Dissolve the saffron in a little water and add to the beans (or add your pimentón or paprika directly to the water).  Now add the pork belly or pancetta, bring to the boil and skim and then repeat with the chorizo and morcilla.

Add the bay leaves, make sure all the meat is pushed to the bottom and then cook very slowly for about 2 or 3 hours.  Try not to stir as this will break the beans, shake the pot if necessary and top up with boiling water if needed.

You should be left with thick creamy beans which still hold their shape.  I like to thinly slice the meats and sausages so they can easily be eaten with a spoon.  This is a “plato de cuchara” or a “spoon dish” as they call it here.

Serve with a good robust red wine, plenty of bread and I like a tomato and garlic salad on the side. ¡Buen Provecho!

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53 thoughts on “Fabada – Asturian Sausage and Beans

  1. This looks like a lovely, warming dish, which I’ll try – with ingredients I can find here – as the days get darker and colder. Is the morcilla smoked? I can get Spanish morcilla but it’s not smoked. I like the idea of using saffron in it too.

    1. Yes, the Asturian morcilla is smoked which gives the finished dish quite a distinctive taste. But I´ve also made it with “regular” morcilla, and it still tastes lovely – a very filling dish!

      1. Hi cookinginsens. I buy Spanish morcilla in our market charcuterie stall and our local shop – we can find a lot of Spanish food here because about a third of the population of our village is of Spanish origin and we’re near the border. Maybe it’s more difficult further north.

      2. Maybe Carrefour in France would stock it, otherwise just use your favourite sausages. It won´t be “Asturiana” but it will still taste good and be delicious and hearty 🙂

  2. This,I’m sure is one of those dishes that tastes more flavorsome eaten the next day,Delicious!
    I love trying first time dishes..I think I would enjoy this one!Have a great day!

    1. That made me smile – as you know, I´m not a photographer by any means and I was worried about the “sploshes” round the plate which I didn´t notice until I downloaded the photo. Must remember not to fill my plate up so much!

  3. I am so grateful for a recipe that lends itself to substitutions, I try very hard to keep my buying/growing local, this looks like a real recipe for real people that I can make with what i have in the pantry and that John would love. Good one Tanya! c

    1. When you live without easy access to large shops and exotic ingredients, it´s great to have recipes that can be played with! If you´re like me, you probably rarely follow a recipe to the letter (well, maybe cakes etc as they do need measurements) and I am always flattered if I can inspire someone to take a recipe and make it their own!

  4. Oh, Tanya – that looks wonderful! I wonder if Portugese Morcella (As they spell it – we live in a region with many Portugese-Americans) is smoked? Gotta admit, I’m not fond of unsmoked blood sausage, but smoked might be different…It’s a texture thing.

    I learned a new trick last year about beans; if you put a couple of tablespoons of salt in the soaking water, they absorb it better, and are less likely to ‘burst’ when you cook them…It’s made a world of difference in my bean soups!

    1. I don´t think I´ve ever tried Portuguese Morcella – so not sure if it´s smoked or not, but don´t think it would matter. When it´s cooked this way, it does tend to firm up, so maybe you would like it? Good tip about the beans – I´ve also heard of people round here putting in a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda in with chickpeas.

  5. This sounds lovely. I’ve started purchasing chorizo lately as it was never something I ate before moving to South Florida. With alot of Latin influence here, I’ve seen it in so many dishes. This would be a great comfort dish and perfect for game days!!

    1. You´re so right, it is very authentic – when you make it without the Asturian meats it tastes different but still so good! Blood sausage is like English Black Pudding…I think it´s a love it or hate it thing though 🙂

  6. Hi Tanya, The recipe looks and sounds terrific. I cook with beans several times a month but think that they are an under used product with so many people.

  7. Your photo is so inviting. I can see myself sitting down to a steaming bowl of this any day in Winter or late Fall. I’m not so sure about the blood sausage, though. I’ve never tried it, not yet anyway. This dish just might convince me to give it a try. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. I´ve been thinking about the blood sausage – it doesn´t really feature in either Italian or American cuisine (at least, I don´t think so) so I´m not surprised that you´ve never tried it. Just leave it out – it´s still a lovely tasting dish!

  8. What a delicious looking dish. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I’m so glad I did that. You’ve created a great spot for your readers to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  9. I’ve got everything on this recipe list right now except for the blood sausage…verdamit! Going to have to make a run to the German butcher ASAP as this sounds terrific.

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