Feijoada

Feijoada is THE ultimate Brazilian national dish and definitely one of my favourites. Although younger than moqueca baiana, this dish tells a lot about the history of our country: it comes from the Colonial Brazil, the period when the Portugueses arrived for the exploration of wood, sugar, gold and diamonds.

The dish started with the African slaves slow cooking black beans and leftovers meat such as pork trimmings (ear, feet, nose etc) in clay pots, a heavy stew that used to give the workers all the energy they needed for those days. Later on, the Portugueses added sausages to the stew and the Indigenous people added the farofa (toasted manioc flour).

Through the years, the traditional stew was adapted to use the best meat that the country produces: smoked pieces of pork and cured meats to make the beautiful Feijoada dish we all love today.

Wednesdays and Saturdays are the typical days to eat Feijoada in Brazilian restaurants and when homemade, it is usually a big event that reunites family and friends.

The side dishes for a complete feijoada are Brazilian white rice, cassava chips, farofa, vinaigrette, slices of orange and stir fried Chinese broccoli (known as couve in Brazil).
A lime caipirinha or a very cold beer will match the party very well!

The recipe I’m sharing today was made by my friend Andre, who slow cooked this beautiful and full of flavour dish for at least 3 hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

This cut-down version of the recipe will feed generously 10 people.

Ingredients

Feijoada
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 Kg black beans soaked in water for a couple of hours
650 g smoked pork sausages (Portuguese sausages, Spanish chorizo or both), sliced
350 g smoked pork loin
350 g smoked pork ribs
650 g corned beef or carne seca (dry, salt-cured beef found usually in Portuguese and Brazilian butcheries)
60 g trimmed bacon
boiling water

Side Dishes
Brazilian Style White rice
Farofa (toasted manioc flour)
Cassava chips
Oranges, peeled and sliced
Couve refogada (Stir fried Chinese Broccoli or Kale)
Tomato, parsley and onion vinaigrette

Method

A day ahead, chop the cured beef into large cubes and soak it into cool water overnight. Replace the water every 6 hours or so until salt is removed.

In a large heavy pot over low-medium heat, fry the garlic and the bacon in the oil. Add the beans and its water and leave it boiling for an hour.
Drain the beef and add it to the pot. Cover it with boiling water if needed.

Reduce the heat to low.
Stir it gently every half hour or so.

Add the pieces of pork loin and ribs to the mixture and let it cook for another hour or so. Again, keep adding boiling water if needed.

In the last hour, add the sausage slices and let it cook for another 30 minutes. Adjust any salt.

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