Ham Croquetas recipe
100g cured Spanish ham, preferably in 1 chunk
2 tbsp olive oil
60g unsalted butter
½ small leek, finely diced
60g plain flour
500ml whole milk, hot
Nutmeg, to grate
2 free-range eggs, beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
25g manchego or other hard cheese, finely grated
1 litre olive oil, to fry
1. Dice your ham as finely as possible. Heat the oil and butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and, when the butter melts, add the leek and and fry gently for a minute, then add 70g ham and cook until the leek has softened, and the ham fat has begun to melt.
2. Turn the heat down, gradually stir in the flour and cook gently, stirring regularly, until it loses its raw flavour – this should take about 8–10 minutes.
3. Gradually stir in the hot milk, beating it in well, until you have a smooth paste. Cook for another 15 minutes until it has the consistency of smooth mashed potato, then fold through the rest of the ham and season to taste with a grating of nutmeg and some black pepper (you won't need any salt). Put the béchamel in a bowl and allow to cool, then cover, pressing the clingfilm on to the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4. Put the beaten eggs into a bowl, and the breadcrumbs and cheese into another. With floured hands, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into cylinders and dip these into the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs until well coated.
5. Heat the olive oil in a large pan to 180C, or until it begins to shimmer. Prepare a plate lined with kitchen roll. Fry the croquetas in batches for a couple of minutes until golden all over, then lift out with a slotted spoon and serve at once.
Fabada (Bean Stew)
Ingredients for 4 people: 400 g of fabes (French beans) 200 g of Asturian spicy sausage 200 g of Asturian black puddings (dry, smoked) 200 g of shoulder of pork 100 g of bacon or streaky bacon 6 sprigs of saffron Salt
Put the beans to soak overnight in cold water. Also place the shoulder of pork and the bacon in another container with warm water. Next day, wash the black pudding and the spicy sausage. Then place the beans in a wide-based earthenware dish with enough water to cover them by a couple of fingers. Boil uncovered on a high flame, removing any scum with a skimming spoon. Add the shoulder of pork and the bacon and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours, moving the dish around from time to time. Season and add the saffron, spicy sausage and the black pudding, leaving it all to cook together for approximately quarter of an hour.Taste the beans to check they are tender and leave to stand for half an hour before serving.