Catalan Season Part 3: Judion & Chorizo Ragout


The Judion bean is an exceptional bean; it’s at least twice the size of a Butter bean and when it’s cooked it has a rich, creamy interior.

If you’re using dried Judion they will need to be soaked the day before, and can also be cooked the day before too. Alternatively they can be found in jars (one big jar should suffice), or you can use 2 tins of Butter beans. The jarred/tinned beans won’t need soaking or pre-cooking.

The ragout can be made up to 3 days before serving and can also be frozen.

200g of dried Judion beans soaked in 800ml water

2tbsp Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil

600g Raw, spicy Chorizo (cut into 1cm pieces)

2 Large Onions (peeled and roughly chopped)

5 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and 4 cloves finely sliced)

2 Dried Nora Peppers (broken open and soaked for 20mins in hot water)- any smokey mild Mexican chilli will suffice.

150ml Dry White Wine (or Cava)

150ml Dry Sherry

2 x 400g Tins of Good Quality Chopped Tomatoes

1 x Bouquet Garni

100ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Handful Fresh Basil

If you are using dried beans you will need to soak themn the day before for at least 4 hours.

For Dried Beans: Add the soaked beans, the remaining liquid, and add one clove of garlic (roughly chopped), to a pan, then top-up with water to approx 3cm above the beans. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and simmer the beans until they are tender. If the water level drops too much top it up to keep the beans submerged. When the beans are tender, add a sprinkling of salt and leave them to cool in the liquor. Refridgerate when they have cooled completely.

Drain the soaked peppers and discard any seads and the stem, then finely chop. Drain the beans (reserving the cooking liquor), or rinse the beans if you are using tinned/jarred versions and leave in a colander to drain.

Heat a large Cassola* or saute/frying pan over a medium heat and add the chorizo. Gently fry until browned. Remove the chorizo and set-aside, do not drain away the chorizo fat.

Add the onions to the pan and gently saute until translucent. If the pan dries out too much add a drizzle of olive oil.

Stir in the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped peppers and the wine and bring the pan to a simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Add the sherry and bring back to a simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the chorizo, the beans, the bouquet garni and 100ml of stock. Check the seasoning and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, over a very low heat for 50mins, until the sauce has thickened and coats the beans. If the sauce thickens too much, add some of the retained cooking liquor from the beans or water if you used tinned/jarred beans.

After 50mins, when you have a wonderfully thick ragout, tear in the basil leaves and serve with a green salad, or griddled baby leeks marinated in a wholegrain mustard and lemon vinaigrette and chunks of fresh bread.

*A Cassola is a straight-sided terracotta pot with a glazed interior, which is used for cooking in Northern Spain. They are fabulously cheap cooking pots and if you have a gas hob, you can use them on the hob as well as in the oven.