Asturian Bean and Sausage Soup


My mad wild friends the Herbie boys from the delicatessen of that name in Edinburgh gave me a mercillo or Spanish blood sausage, and in return I gave them this recipe. Do not confuse Asturia, which is a Spanish Kingdom, with the land of lederhosen. This is a good rib-sticking soup and a meal in itself.


  • 250g/9oz white beans, soaked overnight
  • 200g/7oz ham hock, soaked for 1 hour
  • 140g/5oz belly of pork rib, on the bone
  • 140g/5oz belly of pork, cubed
  • 3 fresh mercillos or other or blood pudding
  • 2 or 3 chorizo sausages
  • 750g/1½lb dark green cabbage
  • 450g/1lb potatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of paprika, optional


Put all the ingredients except the cabbage and potatoes into a pan and cover with water. Skim as the water comes to the boil and cook for 1 hour or until the beans are almost tender. Cut up the cabbage quite finely and bring to the boil in a saucepan of salted water. Drain. Remove the meat bones returning any shreds of meat to the casserole and slice the sausages. Season with plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Add the cabbage and potatoes, and more liquid if necessary to cover them comfortably. Simmer until the potatoes are tender and check the seasoning. If your chorizos are not very spicy, you could add some paprika. Serve in big bowls with country bread.