The day was September 28th. The year was 2009. On that day I posted a recipe for Brazilian black beans, and promised a subsequent recipe for feijoada. It took me almost 2 years, but here it is! Be aware that any recipe for this great Brazilian dish will be controversial, just as a Bolognese sauce is for Italian cooks. Every family has their own favorite, and noses will twist at any deviations from their norm. It’s also tricky to find the authentic ingredients in the US, which my recipe takes into account by adapting to what’s available here. For instance, “carne seca” (dry meat, a delicacy NOT to be confused with the American beef jerky), and some parts of the pig that are sold salted and/or smoked (pig’s feet, ears, tail) are basic components of the Brazilian dish, but I can’t find them at American markets. Because they are so salty and some are also quite fatty, most recipes ask to soak these meats overnight (discarding the water) and cooking them separately from the beans until almost tender. I am substituting corned beef and other types of pork, easily available. I also omitted using a pressure cooker, to make the recipe feasible for those who do not own one. By the way, feijoada is a dish to be enjoyed at lunchtime, traditionally on Wednesdays or Saturdays. It’s such hearty dish that enjoying a plate of feijoada at dinner could be risky…
(a family recipe)
2 pounds black beans
4 quarts water
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut in large cubes
1 cup orange juice
2 bay leaves
1 pound fresh spicy sausage (linguica)
3/4 pound corned beef
1 pound smoked pork chops
1/2 pound chorizo
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 pound slab bacon, diced
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Serrano peppers, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Cover the black beans with water and let them soaking overnight. Next day, discard all the water, place them in a very large pan, add water to cover them by an inch, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes, without any salt.
Meanwhile, prepare the pork butt by placing the cubed meat in a large pan with 1 cup of orange juice, water to almost cover the meat, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, simmer for 45 minutes, covered. Discard the cooking liquid, reserve the meat, and add it to the black beans after they simmered for 45 minutes. Add the brisket in one piece and the bay leaves. Simmer everything together for 1 hour.
Add the smoked pork chops and both types of sausage, continue simmering for another 2 hours, keeping an eye on the water level, adding more if necessary. At this point, the meats should be tender enough to cut into pieces. Remove them, cut the brisket, the sausages, and add them back to the pan.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the bacon cut in pieces, the onion, garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion starts to get golden brown. Add the serrano pepper, saute for a minute, add the whole mixture to the black beans, holding back some of the fat in case the bacon released too much oil. Remove 1/2 cup beans with a slotted spoon (draining the liquid), add them to a small bowl and mash gently with a fork, forming a puree. Return the mashed beans to the pan.
Simmer everything for another 30 minutes or until the meats are completely tender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, remove bay leaves. Serve over white rice, with fresh oranges, cut in large chunks.
to print the recipe, click here
These photos were taken at my youngest niece’s home, she and her husband hosted an unforgettable Saturday lunch for the whole family. The table was beautifully set, with the green/yellow colors of Brazil, fitting the menu to a T.
Feijoada is always served with fresh chunks of oranges, sauteed and shredded “couve” (similar to collard greens), farofa, and white rice. The best way to serve it is to assemble all the goodies in a buffet type setting, so that each guest can make their own plate. In my family, we also provide an assortment of salads, especially now that we have two vegetarians in our crowd.
What to drink with feijoada? If you want to remain authentic, go for capirinhas: either the traditional drink made with limes, or some of the many new departures on this classic. At any rate, my brother–in-law Celso is a pro at making capirinhas, one glass and one huge smile at a time…
ONE YEAR AGO: Vegetable Milhojas
TWO YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny day!