Ana Alonso, the cook of the La Consistorial restaurant in the Asturian municipality of You see, prepares the dish that has won the award of The Best Fabada in the World 2021 with a trick that his great-grandmother taught him and that consists of “kneading” the fabas to intensify the color and flavor of the seasonings.
Use your hands
After a first boil, the legumes are left to cool without water and at that time paprika and saffron are added and then mixed “by kneading with the hands”, this 56-year-old cook explained to Efe, who before turning 6 was already helping her great-grandmother in the stove in your home.
This trick, like many others in gastronomy, is a product of necessity because in those days the compango, the meat accompaniment of chorizo, pork sausage and streaky bacon, was a luxury that many could not afford and in that way it was it gave flavor to the stew although dispense with animal protein.
In the 12 years that he has been in the kitchen of La Consistorial, Ana Alonso Fabada has always been made in the same way, which has allowed the establishment to be a finalist in the contest seven times and this year to win the first prize, in the final held in Villaviciosa in which 25 establishments participated.
A good fabada should be made with ‘fabes’ from the Asturian farm, greater than those from other regions and buttery, and sausage from the Asturian area, preferably artisanal, with pure water with a very low calcareous content, the less the better.
Traditionally, this dish was made with ‘fabes‘which were put to dry hanging from the corridors of the granaries and spring or tap water, but in recent years the use of fresh frozen beans and mineral water has been imposed.
Dried beans are things of the past, when there were no freezers and the only way to have them available out of season was by drying them, because now not only is it not necessary but it increases the work and does not provide higher quality, he assured Jose Manuel Diaz Permuy, who runs the restaurant together with his brother José Luis.
The possibility of having the main ingredient available all year round may have been the root cause of this dish derived from the Asturian pot, which in addition to beans has potatoes and collards that are seasonal products.
It is not known for sure when the fabada began to be cooked. It is believed that it may have been in the century XVI, made by farmers who used their own meat and vegetable productions, although the first written references date back to the 19th century.
The fabada is cooked slowly, with plenty of water, stirring gently spinning the pot slowly so that the legumes do not break and controlling the cooking times, which are different for each of the ingredients.
The compango meats should not be added at the same time, since the blood sausage must go first so that it transfers its smoky flavor and the last one has to be the chorizo so that it stays juicy.
The compango is key in this dish and it has to be of quality and from the area because the sausage from other regions has a different flavor and is not adapted to this type of cooking, explained José Luis Díaz Permuy, chef de cuisine of the establishment.
By eating them, the beans are crushed with the tongue on the palate So that in this way all the nuances that this white bean is capable of giving are appreciated as an explosion of flavor in the mouth, José Luis has highlighted.
The Consistorial It also specializes in traditional Asturian dishes made with Cantabrian fish and red meat from indigenous breeds, and in desserts such as casadiellas, sweet dumplings filled with walnut and anise, and homemade rice pudding.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.