Asturian Bean Stew with Clams
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready Time:
- 1/2 pound of Asturian beans
- 1 1/2 quarts water
- 1 Spanish yellow onion
- 1 ripe plum tomato
- 1/4 medium carrot, peeled and whole
- 3 sprig fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
- 20 littleneck clams
The day before you cook, set the beans to soak in cold water. The next day, drain and rinse the beans.
In a large stockpot, bring the beans to a boil in the water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally removing the foamy scum that appears on the surface. Add the onion, tomato, carrot, and parsley and simmer for 2 hours. Every 10 or 15 minutes, add 1/4 cup of cold water to slow down the simmering. The important thing is to ensure that the beans are always covered with water so they’ll cook properly. By the end of the 2 hours, you should be left with just 1 quart of water – enough to barely cover the beans.
Remove the vegetables, and place in a bowl. With a spoon, pick out 1/2 cup of beans that are split or broken. Add them to the vegetables in the bowl, along with 1 tablespoon of the cooking water. Blend together using a hand-blender or food processor, pass the mixture through a fine strainer, and return it to the beans in the stockpot with half the olive oil. Season with salt to taste. You should have very soft beans in a creamy, starchy broth. Bring to a simmer again.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to the boil. Put 4 clams at a time in the vigorously boiling water for just 5 seconds. Remove from the water. Repeat with the remaining clams. With the help of a paring knife, remove the clams from their shells in a bowl and set aside. As you remove them from the shells, the clams will release a lot of water, which you should keep in the bowl. Strain this clam juice and add to the beans.
Serve by placing one ladle of beans at the center of a soup dish and place the clams on top. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the clams and serve immediately.
Pay particular attention when you place the clams in the boiling water. You’re really just shocking them in the hot water for a few seconds, rather than cooking them. They’ll continue cooking on top of the beans, yet they’ll still be soft and fresh when you place them in your mouth. And if you can’t find Asturian beans, or fabes, you can substitute with another large white bean like cannellini.