This is a classic Spanish dish, similar in some ways to the cassoulet of southern France. It is a big hearty pork stew with local white beans, fabes de la granja, various pork sausages and pork shoulder. It is best eaten at lunch with a hearty wine followed by a siesta.
It has evolved at Cigala over the years and we have taken some liberties. I use judion beans, which are more easily accessible and are scrumptious. These are one of the largest legumes and hail from the north of Spain, Leon and Navarra. They absorb much flavour and I cannot recommend them highly enough. I also use lamb, just to give a little variety, as well as pork.
Like so many dishes it is really relatively simple, there is quite a lot to do, but it is not time sensitive, so you can prepare it well in advance. Indeed it is far superior the day after you have made it when the ingredients have all got to know each other a little better.
You will need:
Big chunks of lamb leg Big chunks of pork shoulder
Chorizo Black pudding
Tocino (salted pork fat) Pancetta (a Spanish bacon)
Onions/carrots/leeks Saffron/ thyme / rosemary
Soak the beans overnight.
Dice all the meat but keep separately as they will be fried off first in batches. Select a stewing pot that will handsomely hold all the ingredients. Starting with the fattiest meats first, heat a very little oil and fry the meats in this until they become brown and the fat is rendered down a great deal. Remove and carry on the process until all the meat is browned, with the exception of the black pudding which will be gently poached at the end so it doesn’t explode. Pour off all the fat and then add the coarsely chopped vegetables. Fry briefly and, drain the beans, then add all the remaining ingredients back into the pot, again with the exception of the black pudding. Cover the ingredients with fresh water and add the herbs, tied up in twine tightly so that it can be removed later, without all the herbs getting into the stew. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, regularly skimming off the fat and scum. Cook until the beans and meat are tender. Season. Poach the black pudding minutes before serving. Serve with some coarsely chopped parsley.