- For the Beans:
- 1lb dried white beans (fabes de la Granja)
- 1 1/2cups vegetable broth
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1small leek, root removed and cut into quarters
- 3medium carrots, cut into quarters
- 4garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4bay leaves
- Sea salt to taste
- For the Clams:
- 2lbs littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1medium onion, peeled and diced
- 3garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 1tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 5-6saffron threads
- 1/2cup white wine
- 1tbsp chili flakes (optional)
- Sea salt to taste
- 2tsp fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
For the Beans:
Add the beans to a large bowl or pot and cover in 3 inches of cold water. Allow beans to soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain the beans. In a 2-quart heavy bottom pot, add the olive oil, beans, carrot, onion, leek, garlic and bay leaves. Add the vegetable broth and additional water to cover the ingredients by 1 inch.
Bring to a boil; de-foam the beans with a slotted spoon after about the first 15 minutes of cooking and occasionally thereafter. Lower heat and simmer on moderately low heat, covered, for around 2 hours. Shake, tilt and rotate the pot several times during cooking. It is important to stir the beans as little as possible as they are delicate and will break. Add more water if necessary. After 2 hours, check the beans for doneness. Continue cooking if necessary. When beans are done, remove and discard the bay leaves, carrots, leeks, onion and garlic. Remove pot from heat and add salt to taste. (Season lightly with salt as the clams will add some saltiness to the dish.) Remove a few ladles of broth from the beans to a bowl and set aside.
For the Clams:
Prepare the clams while the beans are cooking. Soak the clams in cold, salted water for a couple of hours to remove any sand. Discard any clams that do not close when you tap on them.
Add the clams to a large sauce pan with 1 cup water. Cover and heat over medium-high heat until the clams are open. Use tongs to transfer clams to a large bowl. Discard any that did not open.
Line a wire mesh strainer with a double layer of paper towels. Strain the clam broth into a bowl or measuring cup.
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a sauce pan and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until onion has softened. Add the saffron, paprika and chili flakes, if using. Cook for about 2 minutes longer. Add wine and reserved clam broth and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
To Finish the Dish:
Gently stir the clam broth sauce and clams into the beans. Reheat over low heat, shaking, tilting and rotating the pot several times to stir. Add reserved bean stock to adjust liquid to desired level.
Ladle into warm soup bowls, dividing clams evenly and garnish with fresh parsley.
Serve with crusty bread and an Asturian Spanish cider, of course!