World Kitchen: Fabada Asturiana

Reader's Digest Editors 25 July 2022

Monika Linton, a chef and founder of Brindisa, introduces us to a hearty taste of Spain, with this sumptuous white bean stew with chorizo and black pudding…  

This is quite a rich, heavy dish—a medieval-style stew really, not meant to be eaten late in the evening as you need several hours to digest it. The key to this is the very long, slow cooking process, and since it shouldn’t be stirred, it is a good idea to use a heat diffuser, especially if you are using a saucepan rather than a terracotta dish.  

"This is a medieval-style stew, not meant to be eaten late in the evening as you need several hours to digest it"

This ensures the beans cook gently and evenly with no risk of burning. If you like, you can make this the day before you need it, as it will improve massively with a night’s keeping in the fridge. Just reheat very gently before serving.

Fabada Asturiana


Cooking time: 3-4 hours

Serves 8

  • 400g dried fava beans or dried judión beans 
  • 150g panceta, in a single piece
  • 1 lightly smoked cooking chorizo sausage
  • 1 smoked Asturian morcillas, or any similar black pudding sausage
  • ½ head of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ dried red guindilla pepper
  • 2 strands of saffron
  • sea salt to taste


  1. Remember to soak your beans overnight before beginning the recipe.

  2. Drain the beans and put them into a casserole dish with all the ingredients except the saffron and salt. Cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil.  

  3. Skim off any foam that comes to the surface, then turn down the heat. If possible, place a diffuser under the casserole, as from now on, the dish shouldn't be stirred at all, since moving the beans and black sausage around might break them up.  

  4. Cook very gently—just the occasional bubble breaking the surface will be enough. 

  5. The cooking time will depend on the age and quality of the dried beans you use, so it is a good idea to try a bean after the first hour and at regular intervals to assess how long to cook for. Ideally, if you keep the cooking really slowly and gently, it should take around 3-4 hours.

  6. About 15 minutes before the beans are ready, lightly toast the saffron in a small dry pan and add to the casserole. The panceta and chorizo will add salt, but taste the stew right before serving and add a little more if necessary. 

To discover more Spanish recipes, visit

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