Mixed Bean, Pork and Sausage Hot Pot

When in England we get to enjoy a wide variety of different foods that we wouldn’t normally have access to in Spain. Sometimes though, we long for the taste of our other home. If we lived in London, it would be easier to get hold of some of the more authentic ingredients to recreate certain dishes, outside of London it’s a bit trickier. Sometimes, London or not, you can’t get hold of them at all.

Our beloved Fabada, from the north of Spain, is one dish that it’s particularly tricky to replicate exactly without the traditional beans and smoked meats. No matter, we make do and end up with a delicious variation of the original. Fusion cooking? No….we’re not that trendy! Make do and mend? You bet!3 bean & sausage potaje (1)

 

This is a dish you need to plan in advance (especially if you are going to use dried beans which will need soaking overnight). It tastes even better the day after you’ve made it, so is a great one to prepare ahead, or use the slow cooker.

In Spain, this style of dish using dried beans is called a Potaje (pronounced po-tah-heh) which is similar to the French word Potage and the old English word Pottage. All three dishes seem to have much in common with each other as well as the name – do check out the links if you have time.

Ingredients (to serve 6 as a main course)

  • 500g mixed dried beans, soaked overnight
  • 6 fresh chorizo sausages
  • 4-6 slices of pork belly
  • A length of black pudding (or morcilla or boudin noir) about 25cm in length
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of saffron (or turmeric)
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked pimentón
  • Salt (smoked if you can get it)
  • Water

Cover the soaked beans with plenty of cold water and bring to a fast boil. Boil hard for 10 minutes, skimming off any froth that appears on the surface.

Now add the rest of the ingredients except the salt, and bring back to the boil. You can now either put the whole thing into a slow cooker and cook on low for about 8-10 hours, simmer on the stove top for about 2 hours or cook on low in the oven for 4 hours. Make sure you use a dish which has a lid.

When the cooking time is up, test the beans. They should be soft and creamy, even a little mushy. Season to taste. When you are about to serve, put the pot back onto the stove top (transfer to another pot if you used the slow cooker) and return to a fast boil for about 5 minutes. The liquid will turn from a clearer state to cloudy, and thicken at the same time.

Slice the pork belly and black pudding into smaller pieces and serve each person with beans, a chorizo and some pork belly and black pudding. A final drizzle of fresh, fruity olive oil over each dish will really lift the flavour. A perfect dish for a hearty lunch on a cold day.

If you like this kind of dish, why not check out this dish of Pork Shanks with Giant Beans

We need more wine, the bottle is almost empty!
We need more wine, the bottle is almost empty!

or Cod with Butterbeans?

Smoked  Cod & Butterbean Stew (1)

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Pinto Bean “Paté” or Dip

I make a lot of soup, especially vegetable soups using whatever I have available.  To make them more filling, I often add lentils, pearl barley or beans. Today I fancied making a mixed plate of tapas to eat before lunch and had paté cravings.

Instead of making a meat paté I took about a cup of dried beans that I had soaked overnight  (the other half of which were destined for the soup pot) and made them into a tasty, garlicky paté which we served with pickled courgettes, our home cured olives, pickled onions from Cook, Eat, Live Vegetarian´s lovely recipe, salami made by a neigbour and some dried oven baked rolls.

To make one bowl of paté cook about a cup of your favourite dried beans until tender and drain (or use a can of beans).  I cooked them with a few sticks of celery and a chopped carrot for extra flavour.

Put the cooked beans into a blender jug and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and a small bunch of fresh parsley.  Blend using an immersion(stick)  blender or a food processor.  If the texture is too thick, taste and then add either extra oil, lemon juice or water depending on which flavours you want to dominate. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Quick, easy, tasty and economical.  Pass the bread please!

Codillo de Cerdo con Fabas – Pork Shank with Giant Beans

Last year I posted a recipe for a similar dish, this is a variation.  Two pork shanks here serve four people in a very warming winter casserole.

We need more wine, the bottle is almost empty!

Ingredients

  • 500g of large white beans (large cannellini or butter beans would be good) soaked overnight in water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Two large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large leek, roughly chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery and some of the celery leaves if you have them
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion peeled and quartered
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • A dried chili (optional)
  • Approx two cups of water (enough to cover the pork and beans)
  • Four slices of smoked bacon, diced
  • Salt and pepper (don´t season until the beans are cooked)
  • 4 whole cloves or a ½ a level teaspoon of ground cloves

Put all the  ingredients into a large pot with a lid and cook very slowly for about 2 or 3 hours (or longer) in a low oven or on top of the stove.  If you have time, it´s best left overnight before eating to allow the flavours to really develop.

When the beans are soft, strain the liquid off (reserving it) and take as many of the vegetables out from the meat and beans as you can and put into a blender jug.  Blend the vegetables with a little of the cooking liquid then stir into the remaining liquid.  Add the beans and meat (which will have fallen off the bones) into the thick soup, check for seasoning, reheat and serve with a drizzle of olive oil over the top.