One of the dishes I enjoyed a lot in Spain was a bean stew -- which was surprising to me since beans are not exactly high up on my favourite food list.
But this dish called Judiones de la Granja that I had at El Soportal in Pedraza de la Sierra was an eye opener and totally made me look at beans in a new light.
This savoury stew is made with large white beans called judiones that originally come from Segovia. Nowadays I suppose they're grown everywhere in Spain. Since Pedraza de la Sierra is part of Segovia, it was understandable that this dish was offered as a primero plato or appetiser.
It was such a simple dish but oh so rich and scrumptious -- the judiones were tender and creamy,
the sauce had a deep smoky and meaty flavour -- I was sure it was made with drippings from the cochinillo that El Soportal is famous for.
Here's how to make this ham and bean stew:
Dried white kidney beans
Majestic Ham, chopped -- get the scraps or bits, cheaper and just as much flavour
Garlic, onions, tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
How to cook
Soak the beans in cold water for at least 8 hours. Drain and set aside.
Saute garlic, onions and tomatoes.
Add the ham bits and render whatever ham fat there is, for richer flavour.
Add beans and cook together.
Then, add the stock, enough to cover the beans. Add one bay leaf.
Simmer on low heat for about 2.5 to 3 hours or until beans are tender and stock is reduced
and slightly thickened.
Serve hot with rice or melba toast, for a lighter meal.
This keeps well and tastes even better when reheated.