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Fabada Asturiana

Special dressing: Isaac Albeniz

My husband’s grandparents were both from Asturias. Back to the days when they were young, life was very hard in Spain but even harder in small villages and in certain Spanish regions. Asturias was one of these regions: people would leave their home and look for better job opportunities and conditions in Madrid or Barcelona. His grandparents tried to come to Barcelona during the Civil War with 4 small kids, one of them my husband’s father. The grandfather was taken away by the national faction before he could leave Asturias and the grandmother could escape to Barcelona with the kids. After some years in prison his husband could join them in Barcelona. Eventhough, they worked so hard here in the city to raise the four children, my husband’s grandmother used to say: Peor sería tener que trabajar - “It would be worse if we had to work”. Meaning that the country jobs she used to have back in Asturias were really hard ones compared with the city’s.

From their original land they took along with them their pride, their culture and their gastronomy. This is why today I’m posting about Fabada Asturiana, a really easy and basic asturian recipe, with all my respect and admiration for those who had to abandon their houses and lands to look for a better life!

Ingredients for 4 servings: 1/2 kilo of fabes (I used normal white beans, because I ran out of the big ones=fabes), 1 asturian morcilla, 1 asturian chorizo, 1 piece of pork belly, 1 iberian ham bone, 1/2 glass of olive oil, 1 big onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 tea spoon of red sweet paprika and salt.

The day before, place the beans in a recipient and cover them (double height) with cold water. Leave them this way all night through.

Rinse the beans and place in a casserole, cover with cold water and place on the heat, when they start boiling, take the casserole and strain all water from it, pour cold water again in the casserole together with: the peeled and cut onion, the peeled garlic cloves, the olive oil and the ham bone. Shake the casserole to avoid breaking the beans and add the sweet paprika, the pork belly and the chorizo. Water must just cover the beans. Heat should be very low so that all ingredients simmer together, whenever you see it boiling, add some cold water to “frighten” the beans. Let it cook for 3 to 4 hours (depends on the beans quality and the heat).

When beans seem to be nearly done, add the morcilla and let cook for half an hour more. You are done!

If you do this the previous day, fabes will taste better. But if you cannot resist their smell and flavour, go ahead and enjoy them the same day. You should serve fabes in a plate and all pork ingredients in a separate one. Cut in small pieces and let your guests take some to their plates. This is a strong dish. Good for cold days. If you have a delicate stomach, don’t eat much pork ingredients and have it for lunch, never for dinner.

Buen provecho!!!


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02/11/2008 · 12:50 h by Bellini Valli

What an amazing story of your family roots. I love to get these old world recipes but what could someone substitute for the morcilla if it is not available?

02/11/2008 · 13:05 h by Núria

Hola Querida Valli! Yes it seems that it happened sooooo long ago, but it just there in the corner. Hope we never forget that!
Concerning morcilla I looked at wikipedia and found this, maybe it helps you.

02/11/2008 · 13:44 h by Peter M

Nuria, thanks for sharing your husband’s family’s plight. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is a civil war (Greece went through this idiocy too).

As for the dish,it reminds me of the French Cassolet and every bit as comforting.

02/11/2008 · 16:08 h by JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

That looks really great! I always love these family stories. Isn’t it just amazing how people had to survive back then? Like you said too – not even that long ago!

02/11/2008 · 19:03 h by Núria

Hola Peter! We have to have that in mind and don’t forget it so that we don’t fall in same errors!!! Concerning cassolete… once I saw Heather’s there’s no other cassolete in the world!!! This Fabada is much easier.

It is amazing Jenn! We are soooooo lucky now and so fortunate! I wish I had a time-machine and could send my daughter back to the past for 5 minutes, so that she would appreciate what she has now!

02/11/2008 · 19:36 h by The Food Traveller

Oooooooo this looks tasty and perfect for these sunny and freezing days here in Norther Europe!!!

02/11/2008 · 20:02 h by Emiline

It does sound comforting. I agree with Peter- it kind of sounds like cassolet, but not so complicated.
These old world recipes are wonderful. You don’t see them too often.

02/11/2008 · 20:24 h by Ivy

It is sad but these things did happen, one way or the other and as Peter said same things happened here in Greece as well. We must learn from our past and never forget.
This sounds like a great soup for winter.

02/11/2008 · 23:05 h by amysep

Oh, Nuria… I can’t thank you enough for this post! My husband and I had a delicious fabada in Madrid (Casa Portale) and we almost burst out of our pants after eating it. It is so delicious, but very filling. Kind of like the Spanish version of a French cassoulet, at least just as filling (but to me, nothing can replace the taste of morcilla!). You’re right, though, the fabada looks much easier to make. I’ve taken 8 hours to make a cassoulet before! I can’t wait to make this, although I really don’t think it would be the same w/o the morcilla. I’m going to purchase some from the Spanish foods place online ( YUM! – amy @

02/11/2008 · 23:52 h by Heather

Hola, Suavecita-
Mmmmm…this does look like Spanish cassoulet! I bet it tastes even better because it has a story and family history sprinkled in. :)

02/12/2008 · 7:46 h by Núria

Hola Food traveller! Yes it will warm your heart for sure! How nice to have some sun in winter instead of that horrible fog!

Thanks Emiline!

Completely agree with you Ivy. But sometimes politics seem to forget about it!

Thanks so much Amy! Hope you dare to cook it at home! I wish I could travel as much as you do!!! Sounds like you are having a lot of fun!
Buen provecho!

Hola sweetheart! You are a poet too! Thanks!

02/12/2008 · 16:34 h by Bellini Valli

Nuria I have nominated you for an award over at my site. No it is not an Oscar but it is well deserved:D

02/12/2008 · 16:57 h by Núria

Val, what is it? I’m rushing to your place Fiuuuuuuuuuu!!

02/12/2008 · 17:31 h by Bellini Valli

Sweetheart I am glad that you are so happy to recieve this award :D You can pass it on if you wish. I will leave it up to you:D In our busy lives sometimes it is not possible to participate in these things even if we would like to that is why it is up to you :D

02/12/2008 · 17:57 h by Sagari

nice post loved it while reading

02/12/2008 · 18:48 h by Núria

Thanks so much Val! I’ll think about it overnight and post tomorrow. Buenas noches!

Thanks Sagari.

02/12/2008 · 20:06 h by Gloria

Querida Nuria, Tambièn tengo un Blog Inglès/Español, gracias a Valli conocì el tuyo que me ha encantado.
Tengo que contarte que la `mamà de mi mamà (Granmother) comes from ….Asturias!!! sì eran como 12 hermanos (una locura) y el papà d ellos se vino con la familia completa a Argentina. Muchas recetas que hago son de mi mamà de y de mis dos abuelas que las quise mucho.Mi abuela era de Mieres y tenemos parientes en Guijòn. Cariños y cuando puedas pasa a verme. Gloria

02/12/2008 · 22:39 h by Ivy

Nuria, check this out you have been awarded

02/13/2008 · 7:54 h by Núria

Caramba, Gloria! ¡Qué historia! La hija mayor de mi marido vive en Chile… se casó con un chileno y tienen una hijita de un año. Ahora en Marzo vendrán a Barcelona, estoy deseando verles!!!! Voy a visitar tu blog inmediatamente :D. Encantada de conocerte.

02/13/2008 · 8:13 h by Núria

Hola Dulce Ivy! Thanks sooooo much!!! I love it! Muchas gracias! Moltes gracies! ευχαριστώ!!!

02/14/2008 · 7:31 h by Sig

I absolutely love Spanish food, I am glad I discovered your blog Nuria! Thanks for visiting me..

02/14/2008 · 8:04 h by Núria

Hola Sig! Thanks, I’m glad you like it… yours is Really beautiful too!!!

12/16/2008 · 19:46 h by janetching

Hi Nuria, just dropped you an email. and then I found this recipe of yours. Perhaps I can give a go at this : )

12/16/2008 · 19:49 h by janetching

Ooop, I don’t have all the ingredients such as the Serrano Ham bone.

02/28/2009 · 21:48 h by Hilda

Hola Nuria, primero felicitarte por el blog que tienes, todo lo que he visto me encanta.
Es una bonita forma de divulgar la gastronomía española.

La historia que cuentas de tus suegros, por desgracia, ha sido muy habitual, tanto en Galicia como en Asturias, en época de posguerra.
Mis propios padres tuvieron que emigrar a Cuba, desgraciadamente la cosa no salió todo lo bien que era de esperar.

Saludos de una asturiana, de Gijón.

03/02/2009 · 8:32 h by Núria

Hola Hilda :D. Muchas gracias por tu comentario… ésa es la intención de este blog: dar a conocer nuestra increible gastronomía.

Voy a hacerte una visita ahora mismo ;D

10/23/2009 · 8:01 h by globalgal

I just came across your blog while searching for a Fabada recipe. I have an interesting immigration tale concerning Asturias, but it is the opposite of yours! My husband is from Avilés, Asturias. His parents actually immigrated to Asturias from Madrid, to work in the huge steel plants that went up in the Post-Civil War period. I love Asturias and hope to have my home there someday.

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