During our road trip in Northern Spain, we never ate a single bad meal.  Everything was amazing and we were always excited to try new dishes.  Like many countries, the local cuisine will vary as you enter a new town, state, or province.  Nearly everyone immediately thinks tapas or paella when you say Spain.  Take a trip to any town in Northern Spain and you will find there is so much than you could imagine with Spanish fare.  The coastal towns are naturally overflowing with seafood so fresh, you’d bet money that your meal was just swimming in the Bay of Biscay only minutes ago.

While seafood is still plentiful inland, the cuisine tends to favor heavier stews, soups, and endless uses of pork.  We spent two nights in Oviedo; an inland town which is the modern capital of the Asturias province.  And this is where we fell in love with fabada.  Or as the Dutch would say, “super lekker!”.

Spaniards are notoriously late diners with lunch hour usually around 2 or 3pm. But we had a light breakfast and after trekking all over town, we were hungry!  At RQR Restaurante (Calle de Cimadevilla, 16) the first guy to greet us spoke little English, so he sent another woman over to help us.  She found it funny that I was constantly taking photos of the menus, the bottles, the food plates, etc.  Mr. I-can’t-get-enough-pork ordered the fabada Asturiana while I, being the rice lover, ordered the arroz caldoso de mariscos (soupy rice with seafood).  So mine was really good, but G’s selection easily won “best pick of the day”.


G pours his sidra

Fabada & Arroz

Heavy lunch...this was after the soups. We totally skipped dinner that night.



After we finished, we went back to a shop we saw during our walk where we were certain we could get the necessary items to replicate this in Amsterdam.  Bingo!, Rey del Jamon (King of Hams, of course!) had a perfectly packaged kit of all that we needed.

Fast-forward three months.  It’s a chilly Sunday and perfect for fabada!  Just as G finishes setting up the tv so I can watch my Saints football game, he takes one final taste and serves up a bowl of warm porky goodness.  It’s not gumbo, but runs a very tight second place.



Chef G takes a test


Putting our clay cazuelas to use for the 1st time.


French bread and Rioja to pair...we are ready to eat! Eet smakelijk!

While there are several variations, here is a typical recipe for Fabada Asturiana which serves four:

  • 1 pound Dry White Beans (Fabes, Judion, Fava, etc.)
  • 6 cups Water for soaking beans
  • 5 cups Chicken broth
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces Jamon Serrano or Salt Pork, coarsely diced
  • 8 ounces Chorizo sausage, coarsely diced
  • 6 ounces Morcillia (Spanish sausage), coarsely diced (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
Prep Time/ Cook Time

Soak beans overnight, 3-4 hours simmering on the stovetop


Soak the beans overnight in water. Drain. Add beans and broth to a large soup pot. Cook until soft, approximately 3 hours. (Optional: After several hours of cooking feel free to add additional broth or water to make the recipe like a soup, or keep it thick for a traditional taste!) In a separate pot add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Cook the onion, pepper, and garlic and until just tender. To the onion mixture, add the ham and sausages. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove 1 cup of cooked beans and coarsely mash. Return the mashed beans to the pot containing the remainder of the whole beans. Add the onion-sausage mixture to the beans Simmer for 40 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve and enjoy! We recommend serving in a terra-cotta clay cazuela.


Our Camino via Spain

We have just completed our 9th day driving about Spain’s Northern Coast and it has been AMAZING!!!  The food, the drinks, the drive, the views, the beach, the cliffs, the mountains, the ocean, the sunsets, the festivals, the towns…it has been simultaneously refreshing, tiring, and filling. I can’t find enough words to describe it and, of course, have hundreds of photos which will tell a much better story.
Tonight is our last night in Spain and it is bittersweet.  We have loved every minute here, but also look forward to being home in our own beds.  The only drawback to our trip has been the lack of comfort with our hotel beds…and it has been oddly consistent despite our variety of large chain hotels, mid size hotels,  and quaint charming smaller ones.  We still have another +/-15 hours left of driving time before we are back in Amsterdam.  So far we have logged about  31 hours in the car, 2800+  kms, and no quarrels :).  Click here to see our route to date:  31 hours in the car.
I have so much more to post, but here is a quick peek at our trip so far:
Day 1 & 2:  San Sebastian, Basque Country

Pintxos, the Basques' take on tapas at La Cepa

Day 2:  Drive from San Sebastian to Oviedo with stop in Bilbao

Only one road in and out for this cliff side fishing village of Elantxobe

Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao by Frank Gehry

Day 3 & 4:  Oviedo, Asturias

Oviedo cooked up some great eats!

Day 5 & 6:  Santiago de Compostela, Galicia

Camino de Santiago, the 1000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Pilgrims rejoice in Santiago after a completed journey

Others rest weary legs and feet

Day 6, 7, & 8: A Coruna, Galicia

Coastal views by our hotel in A Coruña


Squid fresh from the ocean

Beach time during the day

Happy tummies after razor clams, monkfish, and pimientos del padron

Day 9: Haro, La Rioja
Wine Country Spanish style

Vino tinto and sunset