Tolosana red beans home
Red beans are perfect for making warming stews
Tolosana beans are small red beans that originate from the Basque region of Spain, specifically the town of Toloso in the Guipúzcoa province; this town is also known for its striking black D.O. alubia beans. However, while the alubia beans are very expensive due to their relative scarcity, the red beans are a much more reasonable price. In addition, it is possible for this recipe to use other types of red bean just as well.
The origins of the dish ‘tolosana’ go back to the end of the 19th century, the time when the Spanish industrial revolution was at its height. During this period, railway lines were being constructed to transport coal and other fuel. The section between León and Bilbao was a long one and the men who worked on the train cooked up these warming stews, ingeniously using steam from the engines to heat the food in specially adapted pots (putxeras).
- 2½ cups of tolosana beans, kidney beans or other red beans
- 1 green bell pepper, stem removed and seeded
- 1 leek, well-washed and trimmed
- 1 medium red onion, peeled
- 1 carrot
- 100 grammes pork ribs, cut between the bones
- 1 chorizo (soft-cooked casero cooking chorizo is best) about 50 grammes
- 1 morcilla (blood sausage), about 50 grammes
- 100 grammes tocino or bacon, in one piece
In a large, heavy pot soak the beans overnight in twice their volume of water. The next day, keeping the beans in the water they were soaked in, add the pepper, leek, onion and carrot. Next add the pork ribs, chorizo, morcilla and tocino.
Add extra water so that it covers the beans, vegetables and meat twice over. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook at a steady heat for 30 minutes with the lid off. Reduce the temperature to a low heat, cover the pot and leave gently bubbling for a further two hours; make sure that you move the pot slightly every half hour.
Strain the vegetables from the pot and purée them with a food processor or mash by hand if you prefer. Once done, return them to the pot and stir well. Put the lid back on and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the beans have reached a soft consistency. Add salt according to taste. Serve with sautéed cabbage or potatoes and eat with a spoon.
From Menú del Día by Rohan Daft (Simon & Schuster)