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Cuban Cooking

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Servings: 4


  • 1 pound or 2 cups (½ kilo) dried very large white beans
  • 2 dried morcilla sausages
  • 2 Spanish style chorizo sausages
  • ¼ pound ham
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ pound smoked ham hocks
  • ½ onion, chopped fine
  • Directions

    Place the beans in water to cover and soak 8 hours or overnight. Separately cover the ham and the ham hocks with lukewarm water and soak for 1 hour. (If you have been able to obtain the morcillas, boil them for a few minutes to allow them to lose some of their fat.)

    Discard all the water that has been used for soaking. Place the beans in a Dutch oven and cover them with cold water that reaches about 2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil and rook at high heat for a few minutes. Skim the foam from the surface.

    In a separate pan, heat the oil and sauté the chopped onion. Add to the beans.

    Cut the ham and the ham hocks in chunks and add to the pot, tucking them down into the bottom so that they do not break up the beans. Boil for 5 minutes, covered, and skim. Add the" chorizos (and morcillas), boil 5 minutes more and skim again. (The morcillas must remain on top of the beans.)

    Cook at medium to low heat, partially covered, for 2 or 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. Take care that at all times the beans are covered by 2 inches of water. Pour in cold water as the water becomes absorbed. In Asturias this operation is called to “asustar" or to “shock" the beans. It is also customary never to stir the beans but to move them by shaking the pot. Once in a while test a bean to see if they are done. Correct the seasoning with more salt as necessary.

    Allow the soup to rest for at least ½ hour before serving. If after resting it is not thick enough, mash a few of the cooked beans in a plate, add a little of the broth and return to the pot. Return the pot to a boil for a few minutes.

    To serve present the beans with their broth in a deep bowl or tureen. Offer the meats on a separate platter, the ham and ham hocks in pieces, and the sausage cut in rounds. Everything could be served together in the bowl, but it is best not to disturb the beans so that they hold their shape.

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    Last time this page was edited August 26, 2015
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