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Broad beans with ham

Broad beans with ham (“Habitas granainas”)

The gastronomy of Granada is part of the tradition of arab cuisine and Jewish. The writer Miguel Alcobendas, author of The traditional cuisine of Granada, he says has “its origin in coexistence, from the twelfth to the fifteenth century (in which Granada surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs), of Muslims, Jews and Christians in the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. Later there was a miscegenation with the kitchen of the Christians, in which the meat of Pork became even more important in Granada’s cuisine than in the rest of Spain, since its consumption allowed it to manifest a certain distance with the persecuted religions, since both Muslims and Jews have vetoed it. ” Among the typical dishes of this Nasrid cuisine, there is undoubtedly beans with ham, which by extension is eaten throughout Andalusia. Although it is very easy to prepare, paradoxically, there are very few cooks who know how to cook it well.

“Broad beans with ham” are eaten especially in celebration of the Day of Crosses. It is a sensational dish that can only be prepared in the short season of the green bean (April and May). The recipe that I offer you today is from Teresa, the girl from Granada who was in my house for so many years. For her, the main thing of this dish was the raw material: they had to be tender and not very big, green, shiny and spotless beans, and they should creak when cut. Then, they had to be fried with a “spurred” oil with chopped chives; of course, without adding a drop of water, they came out wonderfully soft and velvety. To this end, it was necessary to avoid the “snatched” fire because the skins would come off; it was important to leave them “lost” in a very soft fire, “without taking them into account.” The serrano ham had to be from Trevélez and was not put at the beginning, because it would dry and harden, and the way to cut it was not in blocks (as It is usually made) but in very thin and small slices to keep it tender and juicy. Another secret was half a teaspoon of sugar to counteract its natural bitterness. All these absolutely essential tips to get some good beans are the ones that most current recipes do not include.

The truth is that Teresa embroidered them; I think it was with this recipe that I realized that she was an extraordinary cook, especially in traditional Granada and Andalusian cuisine; In addition, he seasoned, never better said, his recipes with a lexicon full of Granada slang that made his speech very funny and picturesque, dotted as well as proverbs, to which not even Sancho equaled it. The moment when we sat down to peel the beans was very entertaining for me because he told me the stories of his father who had been a banderillero and had died gored in the bullring of Granada, or the love affairs of his sisters, the four most beautiful , of which one had ended in the clutches of a “gentleman from Granada”, or on the hardships of war. He interweaved his stories in a simple but exciting way, crossing characters and extraordinary events as if they were a novel by García Márquez; I have seldom heard such a dramatic narrator.

When he brought the beans to the table and, above all, if we had a guest, he explained to his liking with: “how well we cooked in our house (or how well she cooked) and always added that” in this house everything is he cooks without ingredients “(meaning” spices “), and” don’t be careful, nothing will hurt you because everything is cooked in very good condition. “Well, we ate” wildly “, which was true thanks, in part, to his great cooking. ” If he ever gave him a warning about a nutritional issue, he always replied that where he had gotten that “booklet”, which was not misguided.

Deep down, there was a certain rivalry between our respective kitchens (Andalusian and Galician), which I do not think I have cultivated because, at that time, I did not like anything more than getting home and finding myself cooked food, outside the it was, since everything seemed like a miracle to me; the only thing I really celebrated about my kitchen were the empanadas and the desserts, which “her young lady did better than Bernina” (her favorite pastry), because in that she did not compete with me. I remember that when at sunset we decided, or rather decided, what we were going to eat the next day, he always got his way; If I suggested a pasta and some steaks, I immediately contradicted myself with: “Children like meatballs with mashed potatoes and a pepper salad more.” The truth is that I did not care about anything imposed by his criteria because, above all, he valued the love he showed towards my children and us.

After this short story about Teresa, I hope you appreciate, if possible, the recipe for her “habitas granainas with ham “; I assure you that you will hardly find a more exquisite recipe for this dish from Nasrid cuisine.


The quantities of the ingredients are quite lax and will depend on your budget, however, the product (beans, oil, ham) must be of very good quality and the preparation must be followed to the letter.

150 to 200 gr. of beans by eatal because then the beans are nothing.

1 chive for about 4 people

oil to superficially cover the pan, which should be as high as possible if possible

ham to taste, I do not like them very loaded with ham, because in my house they are accompanied with a curdled or fried egg.

1/2 teaspoon of sugar almost at the beginning to remove the bitterness that they may have.

Do not pour salt until the end and just in case you need it


1. In Granada the chosen beans are already sold, so you just have to pour a little oil in the pan (that covers it very superficially) and you already add the chives in strips, more or less fine:

2. Now you lower the heat to a minimum and cover them “without realizing it” for half an hour; after that time, remove them and add the teaspoon of sugar and cover them again and another half an hour:

3. After the hour, they will have changed color, they will become darker in green and they will almost be there; now you can add the ham:

4. These are the slices of ham that you will cut into pieces:

4. You add it to the beans and you only give them a turn so that they release the flavor and the salt, and they must cook no more than another 5 minutes:

5. In my family they like beans accompanied by a fried or curdled egg. If we are more than three people, I fry them in case any one breaks.

And there you have them prepared to sink your teeth: soft, velvety, tasty; in a word: yummy!


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