Delicias de España's Fabada Cooking Kit

In preparation for the Spain vs. Germany World Cup semifinal, which takes place at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, we hit up Delicias de España on Red Road to find out how to eat like a crazed Spanish soccer fan. This bright and friendly grocery-restaurant is a bit of Spain in Miami. Here you can get everything from olive oils and cheeses to wines and ciders to paella pans and tablecloths. There's patriotism but no opulent World Cup display.

As for the cup, store manager Christina Llerandi suggests a fabada. More on that in a minute.

We walk into the attached restaurant and make our way to the counter cooler toward the back of the room. The restaurant is brightly lit with large windows, so it's hard to miss the sharply dressed waitstaff serving pitchers of sangria and carrying plates of traditional Spanish dishes -- such as parrochas fritas, potaje gallego, and lacon con papas -- to lunchtime patrons.

Seeing this, I am tempted to cop out of the cooking adventure and just order something off the menu. But then I see the long cooler full of Serrano ham and Spanish sausages such as chorizo, butifarra, cantimpalitor, and chistorra. Of course! Chorizo and cider, what could be better? Llerandi reminds us: "For a taste of Spain, you must try the fabada." She hands me a packet containing alubias (large white beans), ham, chorizo, and morcillas (blood sausage) -- all the ingredients necessary for this starchy Spanish stew -- and a recipe.

Llerandi tells me that most of their customers are either Spanish or of

Spanish descent, but maybe that's because the restaurant's fabada recipe in

the "starter kit" is about as user-friendly as the first PC. It's all

written in Spanish, with very few directions and no cooking times or

temperatures. Nevertheless, I crank up the AC and begin stewing a

Spanish winter dish on a hot Miami summer day. After soaking the beans

overnight and cooking everything in a pot for a few hours, I end up with a concoction that's surprisingly tasty and boasts great meat flavors. I serve it with some Sidra Trabanco,

recommended at the store, and watch a group of friends devour the stew faster than

even the cider. Pleased that the stew is such a big hit, I take a

swig of our cider only to realize that it tastes like something that has

been sitting in the bottom of a wooden barrel on a hot day. Everything

can't be perfect, but fortunately the fabada tastes just as good

with a bottle of Rioja from the cupboard.

Fabada is a common Spanish dish that evokes warm childhood memories, so it was easy to find a full recipe for even the most amateur of home cooks to re-create. Stay tuned.

Delicias de España

4016 Red Rd., Miami


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