My Dad bought me some amazing Spanish goodies from the farmers market at the weekend and they were crying out to be made into a cassoulet of sorts. Not that there is anything Spanish about cassoulet of course but it sounds so much nicer than just plain old stew, doesn’t it? I suspect that it might even be classed as a fabada as it is a white bean stew but I don’t know enough about Spanish cookery to know if this is strictly correct. So Spanish bean stew it is. My favourite kind of family cooking is bung-it-all-in-a-pot-and-hope-for-the-best-in-about-two-hours and this stew is exactly that. I didn’t make this with the intention of sharing it here on my blog but it turned out so well that I really wanted to. So apologies in advance if the approximate ingredient list is as rustic as the end result itself but this should give you an idea. So here’s what you need:
Cooking for a family of six is a bit like feeding a very hungry army every night so feel free to adjust the ingredients according to the size of your brood of course. Saying that, a recipe like this would be perfect for batch cooking too. I’m a big fan of eating half now and saving half for later because it’s basically double the food for half the cooking. And I’m essentially very lazy.
First of all gently brown the diced chicken thighs. Then add the sliced morcilla, pancetta and chorizo for just a few of minutes until those lovely oils begin to seep out. If you have a casserole pot that can be used on the hob then go into the oven – perfect. If not then frying in a pan and adding to the casserole pot is fine. I used approximately 12cm length each of morcilla, pancetta and chorizo to give you an idea of quantities. Morcilla is Spanish blood pudding and personally I prefer it to traditional English black pudding but if you can’t get hold of any, normal black pudding would be fine. I know some people are squeamish over the whole blood sausage thing but seriously, I’d urge you to at least give it a try it tastes amazing! If it really isn’t for you, then feel free to skip it or even substitute the morcilla for more chorizo or pancetta.
Now add the sliced leek, diced onion, crushed garlic and butter beans to the pot. I used some gorgeous alubia granja beans which are particularly big and fat and lovely but any kind of white butter bean will be absolutely fine. Add the tin of tomatoes, paprika, bay leaves and a handful of fresh thyme then pour on approximately 250ml chicken stock. There needs to be enough liquid to just cover the ingredients so add by sight. Give the stew a good stir then cover and cook at about 180°c for at least 2 hours stirring occasionally.
This Spanish bean stew is great served just as it is or my lot like it with lots of crusty bread to mop up the juices. I’m not very good when it comes to creating delicate masterpieces in the kitchen, my style of cooking is much more.. erm.. rustic and this is definitely that. As you can see. But for me, you just can’t beat proper comfort food like this made with simple but amazing ingredients. And the clean plates all round that come with them. Yum!