Chorizo enlivens a wintry Spanish white bean stew

Christopher Kimball
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

In Spain’s rugged Asturias region, winter winds coming off the Atlantic demand rib-sticking meals that make the most of preserved foods.

That often means fabada asturiana, a homey mix of cured meats, dried beans and alliums slowly simmered with various cuts of smoked pork. It could spend half a day on the stove, but in this recipe from our book “Tuesday Nights Mediterranean,” which features weeknight-friendly meals from the region, we make a quick-and-easy version that comes together in 30 minutes.

We pared back on the meats, using only chorizo and ham, both of which lend deep flavor to the broth.

The dish gets its name from fabas, the large beans traditionally used, but we found that canned white beans worked well. We especially liked the relatively large size and creamy texture of cannellinis, but great northern and navy beans are fine, too.

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A pinch of saffron adds a Spanish flavor and fragrance, while giving the stew an alluring golden hue.

Be sure to not overcook the chorizo and ham after adding them to the sautéed onion mixture. If the pieces begin to sear or brown, they’ll be chewy in the finished dish.

Cook only until the chorizo begins to release some of its fat.

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This image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for Spanish Chorizo, Ham and White Bean Stew. (Milk Street via AP)

Spanish Chorizo, Ham and White Bean Stew

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, casings removed, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces ham steak, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 11/2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • Three 151/2-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Warmed crusty bread, to serve

In a large pot over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, saffron, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly softened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the chorizo and ham, then cook, stirring, just until the chorizo begins to release its fat, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, beans and bay. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay, then stir in the scallions. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.