A few years ago, my parents took us on a family vacation to Spain and the cuisine we experienced, both high-brow and low-brow, was unparalleled. The Spanish embrace community cuisine and every town seems to have its signature dish. One of the best signature dishes I tried was in Segovia: judiones de la granja de San Ildefonso. These enormous, creamy white beans are unlike any other beans I have ever tasted. And when they are cooked with Spanish chorizo, ham bones, and paprika, they are indescribably comforting and delicious.
During our travels, we spent some time in a parador in Segovia and what a magical experience that was. Segovia, a World Heritage City, is a magnificent spanish town that is full of history and is crowned at the top of its tallest hill by the Alcazar de Segovia, a royal Spanish castle that dates back to at least the 12th century. Everything about Segovia is extraordinary, and I have such fond memories of this special place.
While we were in Segovia, we enjoyed a special dinner at the parador and our first course was judiones de la Granja de San Ildefonso. I was blown away by this simple dish rumored to have been first created at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso right outside of Segovia. It is said that these beans were first brought to the palace from the Americas and fed to the royal animals. Apparently, at some point, the royals themselves tried the beans and loved them. This dish has been wildly popular in Segovia ever since, and it’s pretty obvious why these giant beans are so loved once you taste them.
1 lb. dried judion beans
3 Spanish chorizo, sliced
1 serrano ham bone (or a regular ham bone will work)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, mined
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. Spanish paprika
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the beans overnight. Drain and rinse the beans. Put them in a large stock pot with the bay leaves, ham bone, and chorizo. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours, or until beans are creamy and tender, but still intact. You will probably need to add water as the beans cook, as it will evaporate.
At this point, you will need to heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onion until golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the paprika and flour and stir until fragrant. Add to the beans and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.