Posted by: travelrat | June 15, 2009

Barco Beans


Gredos: 12th March 2009

For lunch on the Wednesday, we had ‘Barco Beans’ for a starter. At first appearance, it just looked like someone had opened a can of Heinz Pork n’ Beans. But, the pork tasted porkier, and the beans … beanier? And, the tomato sauce actually tasted of tomatoes.

As regular visitors to this site will know, Barco de Avila is just down the road, and the beans are a speciality of the area. On Thursday evening, we all walked into Barco, and found several of the shops sold the beans, and some of the Spaniards bought some. At the moment, I’m a bit unclear about the part the beans play in Spanish cuisine; it seems a bit of a shame to just use them for the humble beans on toast.

The June issue of Lonely Planet Magazine carried a recipe for paella which specified four different kinds of beans … but Barco Beans wasn’t one of them.

I’ve only had paella once, and I’m racking my brains to remember whether there were beans in it or not. I did pick up a leaflet in one of the shops which gave a few recipes. However, I tossed it into my in-tray to await translation … and I think it got inadvertently thrown out in the ‘great office makeover’.

I think they’d make a pretty good stew, though … something along the lines of a French cassoulet? And, I’m wondering … whenever beans are mentioned, why do I always think of the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles?

Judias Meanz Beanz!

Judias Meanz Beanz!


  1. I always think of the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles too. I’m laughing just thinking about it.

    The pork and beans sounds delicious. I’ve had paella a couple of times but I don’t remember it having beans in it. Does the recipe vary according to region?

    Great post!

    • I think so. The paella recipe in LP magazine is from Valencia, where it is claimed paella originated. My cookbook, however, makes no mention of beans, and says you should use pork, chicken and seafood. I’d say, use one or the other … my Spanish friend agreed, and said don’t use seafood unless you can see the sea.

      I suspect that paella is a bit like Irish stew. Ask twenty-seven people how to make it, and you’ll get twenty-seven different recipes! I think the only thing they’re agreed on is always use saffron; never be tempted to use turmeric instead.

      BTW, I meant to say I’ve only had real paella once; I didn’t count the pre-cooked chicken mixed with rice pudding served in some Engish pubs.

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