Wednesday, 31 May 2017

'Cos I need beans and chorizo in my life: Summer fabada

It may be summer (well, as summery as it gets in England in May), but I cannot survive on a diet of salad. I just can't. And I know I'm gluten free but I swear if I see another grain of quinoa pretending to be something vaguely filling, I will throw one of those rock-hard stale packaged GF bread rolls at the chef.

So, with cooking chorizo in the fridge and dried beans from last year's harvest in the cupboard, my hungry brain (and tummy) swayed towards a fabada asturiana, or Spanish bean stew. However, it being summer, here's a much lighter and quicker version that also uses lots of vegetables so you could almost argue it's healthier than that quinoa salad...

Summer fabada

Serves 4 hungry people

1. Soak a good handful of beans per person overnight. I had three types of beans in the cupboard, but two tins of beans in water (drained) would be absolutely fine. If using dried, boil for at least 45 mins in salted water after draining the soaking liquid.

2. Roughly cut up one large onion, a red pepper and a third of a butternut squash and roast in olive oil for 30 mins at gas 6 / 200c. 

3. In the meantime, chop a selection of green vegetables - I used broccoli, baby courgettes and asparagus - into small pieces. Also chop one large or two small tomatoes into small chunks and leave to the side. You'll also be charring a baby gem lettuce so you can chop that into rough pieces too. And lastly, if you have it, finely chop a clove of fresh garlic - and if not, half a clove of 'normal' garlic.

4. Chop two or three cooking chorizo sausages into small pieces. Cooking chorizo is better for this dish because of the oil in the sausages which are only part-cured, rather than the hard eating chorizo - however, if this is what you have in the fridge, use it anyway and add a little more oil when you fry it (that's next).

5. In a hot pan fry up the chorizo for around 5 minutes to get all that lovely smoked paprika oil out of them. When you're done, lift out the meat with a slotted spoon and add to the pan in the oven which contains the onion/squash/pepper mixture.

6. Add the chopped green vegetables to the chorizo oil and fry for about 7 minutes or until cooked but still crunchy. Tip into a big bowl.

7. To the remaining oil (you might need to top it up a little with vegetable oil) add a teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin, smoked sweet paprika / pimenton and if you like it spicy, hot paprika. Add the drained beans, fresh garlic and around 200ml cold water and fry until the water has evaporated. 

8. Add the tomato/es to the mixture and fry for around 3 minutes or until soft but so they haven't completely turned to mush. 

9. Take the vegetables out of the oven and leave everything to cool for 5 minutes - it'll taste better warm rather than hot. When they've cooled a bit, pour everything into the big bowl with the green veg already in and mix together. 

10. When ready to serve, char the baby gem in the same pan and pop a few leaves on top of each portion for extra crunch. Enjoy!

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