Tolosan black bean stew with bacon

This is a slight variation on the traditional recipe, but my minor changes are only designed to add flavour. I have to say I am not sure where one can generally obtain the black beans of Tolosa, we got ours from the restaurant that serves the best bean stew in that town. For this you will need:

500g Tolosan black beans, alubia negra
600g unsmoked streaky bacon in one piece
500ml fresh beef stock
Some minor white wine, Anjou Blanc is good
A large onion
6 cloves of garlic
100ml olive oil

Soak the beans in water overnight. About five hours before you want to eat chop up the onion and fry it in a few millilitres of oil until it begins to soften. Place the fried onion in a large pan. Crush or chop up the garlic and fry until it just begins to change colour, this will not take long. Put the fried garlic in the pan. Drain the beans then add to the pan (discarding the water they were soaked in), along with the beef stock and the rest of the olive oil. Add some of the white wine until the beans are just covered. You then bring the stew to the boil, then reduce the temperature until it is only just simmering. This is very important, the temperature should be such that the surface of the stew just quivers. Stew with a lid on the pan for two hours at this temperature.

When this time has elapsed cut the piece of bacon into 2cm cubes and fry until the bacon fat just begins to run. You then add this to the stew and simmer for another three hours, again with the pan covered. The beans need to be cooked for five hours in total. It’ll then be ready to eat.

Ideally, you should serve this with black pudding/blood sausage and pickled peppers. The pickled peppers are not terribly wine-friendly so skip them if you are going to drink something good, I know I am not serving any when I cook this at the weekend.

For the type version of this stew go to Restaurant Fronton in Tolosa, it is freaking delicious there.