Friday, June 23, 2017

Fabada Asturiana, A Bloody Good Stew #FoodNFlix

This month's Food'N'Flix event was hosted by my friend Evelyne over at CulturEatz. You can read her invitation: here. She asked us to watch Volver.*

The title of the movie didn't sound familiar, but once I popped in the DVD, I kept having strange déjà vu. About the third time I thought to myself "______ is about to happen," and it did, I had to admit that I must have watched it before!

On the Screen...
The instant the movie begins, you have a sense it's going to be a strange one. The boys were coming in and out when I was watching it, asking, "Why are you watching a telenovela?"

It's not a telenovela.

"It looks like one."

It does, actually. There's sex, scandals, heartbreak, and death.

This film, to pull from one scene when there's blood on Raimunda (played by Penelope Cruz), is about "women's troubles." It's about women across generations helping each other, hurting each other, and forgiving each other. Think incest, murder, extramarital affairs, and secrets. Lots of secrets. There are comedic moments; there are dramatic moments. There's a supernatural element in the form of the insanity-inducing East wind.

And there is a lot of cinematic artistry. Director Almodóvar succeeds in making what would otherwise be horrific - cleaning blood off a murder weapon - erotic and beautiful. And there's one scene of Raimunda chopping red peppers that made my mouth water! The entire film was really colorful and vivacious.

On the Plate...
There was plenty of food inspiration to be found. On a trip to their village, Raimunda, her daughter, and her sister eat donuts; and while at Aunt Paula's, they devour wafers. They call them wafers, at least in the subtitles, but they look like churros.

Raimunda does take over a local restaurant and caters for a film crew. We see her cooking, her menus, and a dinner party. On the menu I saw: Tortilla y Morcilla, Mojito, Authentica Caipirhna, and more.

I already mentioned the scene of her chopping bell peppers and there was one shot of her unmolding a giant flan.

I was inspired to make Fabada Asturiana, often simply known as fabada, a hearty Spanish bean stew made with morcilla. Well, sort of. Morcilla is a Spanish blood sausage. I got my hands on some sanguinaccio which is an Italian blood sausage. While the Spanish version usually includes rice, this version, from Boccalone, uses buckwheat groats. Close enough. This recipe is originally from the province of Asturias, but it's now widely available throughout the whole of Spain.


  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 4 to 6 ounces Spanish chorizo (I used the sweet, versus spicy, chorizo), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces blood sausage, cut into this coins
  • 1 C chopped tomatoes (I used organic cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/3 C red wine (I used a Spanish Tempranillo)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 15 ounces cooked butter beans (these are a type of lima bean)
  • 1/2 C water
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped

Melt butter in olive oil in a heavy, lidded pan. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, but not browning. Stir in the chorizo and blood sausage. Cook until the blood sausage is firm; it might crumble and not longer be in the shape of the coins - that's fine!

Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften and lose their shape. Pour in the red wine and stir in the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add in the cooked beans and stir to combine. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Everything is fully cooked, at this point, you're just letting the flavors meld. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Spoon into a serving dish.

Serve the fabada with a side of crusty bread and a glass of the red you used to cook the dish. Salud!

You still have a week or so if you want to join Volver fun. Or, next month, Sarah from Chef Sarah Elizabeth will be hosting Dirty Dancing. Stay tuned for more information about that.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.


  1. Telenovela! That is the descriptive word I have been looking for. Glad you liked the movie and wow on the stew, love it! Great inspiration and adding it to my recipe bucket list. Thanks for participating!

  2. Aaarrrgh, I have been so busy that I forgot all about FNF this month and now, with company arriving tomorrow, I don't see where I am going to find time to watch and then disappointed especially since you gave such an interesting review and great recipe.

  3. I totally forgot about the "woman's trouble" scene. HA! Great dish, Camilla! (It did kind of remind me of a telenovella come to think of it.)

  4. I thought the wafers looked like churros too. ;-) Great post and great dish--it looks both hearty and delicious.


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