Thursday, 17 September 2009
Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum
Just as I announced some days ago here's one of those typical Spanish dishes that screams passion! at the visitor. Fabada Asturiana (Asturian Bean and Sausage Pot) is the king (or queen, it's feminine in Spanish) of local delicacies in Asturias. Luckily I had mine in the evening after a strong cup of coffee, otherwise I would have fallen asleep behind the wheel. This is a hearty, plain dish whose richness comes from the cooking process; the smell alone is worth the calories.
Fabada Asturiana (Asturian Bean and Sausage Pot)
1 lb 10 oz dried butter beans (fabas)
1 1/2 lb salt pork belly
1 1/2 lb smoked gammon knuckle or hock, skin slashed
6 black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch of powdered saffron
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb chorizos or smoked sausages
6 oz black pudding
Choose a stockpot that holds at least 10 pint (6 liter). Cover the beans, in a bowl, with plenty of boiling water. Put the salt meat (pork belly, brisket or silverside and gammon bone) into the pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then drain the meat and return to the stockpot.
Drain the beans then add to the pot with the pepper-corns, paprika and saffron and bay leaf. Add 4 pints (2.3 liter) water. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer very gently on minimum heat for 2 hours. A big pot on a small burner is best, and better still with a heat diffuser (such as the ones used to prepare paella). Check occasionally that the beans are still covered, but do not stir (or they will break up).
Remove the ham bone and salt pork, to cool a little. Strip off the skin and fat, and take about 2 tablespoons of chopped fat for frying. Sweat this in a frying pan. Fry the garlic lightly, then spoon it into the beans.
Fry the sliced sausages and black pudding (discarding artificial casings). Stir into the pot with the pan fat.
Remove all the meat from the gammon bone. Chop it, and the salt pork or beef, and return to the casserole; simmer for a few minutes. Check the seasonings (there should be enough salt from the meat).
This dish is distinctly spicy, so with that in mind the music must be able to provide the same degree of hotness and richness. Rhythm with a kick, if you like.
That's why my first guest tonight is a somewhat youngish Paco de Lucia performing 'Entre Dos Aguas', one of his most famous compositions.
My second choice brings back memories aplenty. And I'm sure it will to those of a 'certain age', too. Little River Band with 'Take It Easy On Me'. Man, alive, singing and chewing gum at the same time, how many people can do that, huh?
The third track tonight is a strong reminder to me personally of why I blog, why I laugh with all my teeth showing, why I live life to the full, why I love. The first lines should be self-explanatory enough to convince anyone that in today's world if someone gives you attention, respect, affection, please, don't turn it away, take it, especially if they carry a plate of hot, steaming fabada asturiana in their hands. In this world, if you read the papers, lord/You know everybody's fighting on with each other/You got no one you can count on, baby/Not even your own brother/So if someone comes along/He's gonna give you some love and affection I'd say get it while you can, yeah!/Honey, get it while you can, Hey, hey, get it while you can/Don't you turn your back on love, no, no!
My last track tonight is a very popular song that needs no introduction. Just go easy on the dancing after you've eaten that rich fabada. Many thanks.
Next Post: Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music, to be published on Sunday 20th September at 10am (GMT)