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Fabada - Ham & Beans
Serves 4

1 pound fabada beans, butter beans or Great Northern beans
14 ounces black pudding sausage - Morcilla
14 ounces chorizo
14 ounces cured ham
5 ounces salt pork
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 whole bay leaf

The previous day, put the beans to soak in water and cover. Put
the salt-cured ham (or shoulder) to soak in hot water. Blanch
the salt pork in boiling water. The following day, wash the sausages
to eliminate excess smokiness. Drain beans and put them in a deep
earthenware casserole or large cooking pot and add water to cover
the beans by a depth of two fingers.

Bring to a boil and skim off the froth. Toast the saffron lightly
and crush it in a mortar or teacup. Dissolve in a little water
and add to the beans. Add the smoked ham and salt pork to the
casserole, pushing them to the bottom of the beans. Return to the
boil and skim. Then add sausages and skim again. Add the bay-leaf,
then cover and cook very slowly, 2 to 3 hours, or until beans are
very tender. Add cold water occasionally to just barely keep the
beans covered. Do not stir.

Let sit 20 minutes off the heat before serving.

NOTES : An Asturian dish, usually made with salt-cured ham (lacon),
or pork shoulder, but ham or black bacon can be substituted. The
black pudding "Morcilla" (blood sausage) and chorizo should be
smoked if possible. In rural Spain many who keep their own pigs,
make their own black pudding with fresh pig's blood at the annual
"matanza". Spain likes its blood-puddings flavored with paprika,
onions, garlic, cloves, pepper, marjoram, coriander and cumin. The
fabes are big, white beans. You can use dry butter beans or Northern
White beans instead.


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