Asturian white bean stew
Prep time15 minutes
Total time45 - 75+ minutes
Both of us were born and raised in the Northwestern region of Spain called Asturias (no, not Galicia, but it rains a lot there too). Fabada is a dish that sums up the character of the region: working class, humble but strong. Now we don’t eat it as often because we have moved away, and since we are two nerds working from home instead of a mine, we can’t consume ridiculous amounts of fat without collapsing. We also try to limit our intake of animal products to a minimum for ethical reasons, but we confess that when we visit home, our mothers cook fabada for us with all their love, and we reluctantly eat it with a pinch of guilt and a bunch of meat.
Our modest veganized version inspired by the incredible vegan fabada from Casa Chema keeps the paprika flavour from the chorizo in the original version, and won’t make you fall into a food-induced coma afterwards! We can also share it with our friends who don’t eat pork or any animal products. If only we weren’t asocial nerds.
We could get fancy about the kind of beans to use and how to prepare them, but we don’t care. They will taste good. However, we strongly recommend using pimentón de la Vera, a type of smoked paprika from la Vera region in Spain that we have found in the spice aisle of supermarkets even in Canada. You may be tempted to use any smoked paprika but if you do, you will be cooking a different dish.
- 3 cups dry white beans or 3 (19 oz.) cans of cooked white beans
- 2 onions
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 500 g diced squash (frozen or fresh)
- 4 garlic cloves or as many as you can mince before you get tired
- 1 tablespoon de la Vera smoked paprika (it has to be pimentón de la Vera or it won’t taste the same, we can’t stress this enough)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or another vegetable oil if you are a heathen
If you are using dry beans, leave them to soak in abundant cold water the night before. The day you are making the recipe, drain the remaining water, and reserve.
Mince the garlic and onions. Heat half the oil (two tablespoons) over medium in the biggest pot you have in your house, fry (Gabriel refuses to use distorted French expressions) half the garlic until it’s golden, and then add the onion. Most people seem to add the garlic with or after the onion, but to us that’s just wrong. We want our garlic crispy and flavourful, you do you. Stir occasionally until the onion is transparent.
Chop the bell pepper in small pieces, add to the pot, and stir. After that, add the diced squash and stir.
In a small pan, heat the other half of the oil over medium, and fry the other half of garlic until golden. Then, add the paprika (pimentón de la Vera, last warning) and cook it for a few seconds so that it doesn’t burn. When it’s done, add it to the pot with the vegetables. You may ask why we don’t cook it all in the pot. We don’t know why, but it tastes so much better this way. We call it magic, but perhaps we should call someone who actually knows about cooking.
Mix the vegetables with the garlicky, papriky oil, add the beans and stir them well. If you are using uncooked beans, add hot water until it fully covers the ingredients and then as much as fits without spilling over when it boils. This is because they will have to simmer for a long time and they must be constantly covered in water, so it will save you having to top it up and bring it back to a boil every few minutes. If you are using pre-cooked or canned beans, add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Set heat to high until the water starts boiling, then lower back to medium.
Cook for at least an hour or until the squash melts, the stew thickens, and the beans are tender. Bear in mind that the stew will thicken even more after resting for a few hours. Salt to taste and serve. We hope you like it!