I was once invited by a friend for dinner. She told me that she was going to make fabada, a spanish bean stew from Asturias. While the beans take center stage, the stew is taken a step further with the addition of chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage) and pork. She even boasted that her fabada was better than my Mom’s version.
“Wait a minute… are you telling my that YOUR fabada is BETTER than my Mom’s?” I asked her over the phone.
“Yes. Yes… you must come over to try it. I managed to get hold of a secret recipe from an aunt.” She replied.
Hmmm…. this I had to see.
A few days later I had dinner at her place. Sadly, the fabada was no where near as good. The taste was oddly familiar but I couldn’t identify where I had tried it before.
“Do you like it?” She asked.
“You know, I can’t lie to you.” I told her. ”I think my Mom’s is better.” I added.
“Well, I may have taken a shortcut or two…” she told me. ”I used a can of pork and beans.” she added, now looking a bit embarrassed.
“PORK and BEANS?! The nerve! Never ever serve canned pork and beans and pass it off as fabada!” I told her that night.
Which is why many years later, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I DID use a can of beans for this bean and chorizo stew. Given that the beans takes only a fraction of the time to cook (think 15 minutes instead of 2 days!), this dish DOES stand up to my Mom’s fabada. I saw the recipe in Jason Atherton’s new cookbook: Gourmet For a Fiver. He uses a can of butter beans and is able to re-create that creamy texture which comes from hours of slow simmering by adding some chicken stock and cream. The secret (I think) is to use the best quality chicken stock you can afford (if homemade, even better!) The beans are accompanied by a roast chicken flavoured with thyme and garlic. The roast chicken is my own recipe, the original recipe in the book calls for a confit of chicken.
Roast Chicken with Butter Beans and Chorizo
Recipe serves 2
For the Roast Chicken
- 2 chicken marylands
- 4 cloves garlic
- 30 grams butter
- 3 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre heat the oven to 180c (fan forced).
- Chop the butter, garlic and thyme and mix this together
- Loosen the skin of the chicken with your fingers and spread the butter mixture generously underneath
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 40 minutes
For the Butter Beans with Chorizo
Inspired by Jason Atherton’s Gourmet for a Fiver
- 400 grams canned butter beans, drained
- 1 piece chorizo, chopped
- 100 ml chicken stock
- 100 ml cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the butter beans in a strainer and run them under cold running water. Allow to drain for a few minutes and set aside.
- Over high heat in a medium saucepan, place the chorizo and cook until it is well browned. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- In the same saucepan, add the chicken stock and the cream and simmer until the volume is reduced by half.
- Add the beans and the chorizo and simmer until the sauce has thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper.