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.

It is easy to understand why this meal suits lunchtime a lot better than dinner!  😉

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…

and once the feijoada is over,  only a good hammock will do!

ONE YEAR AGO: Vegetable Milhojas

TWO YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny day!

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  1. Wow, Sally! This looks like an amazing feast!

    It reminds me of Christmas Eve in San Diego. We all gather at my father-in-law’s house for a big meal of albondigas, pozole, carnitas (with ALL the fixin’s) and several desserts, including flan. So good, and really sets the tone for the celebration to come!

    Thanks for this peek into a festive Brazilian feast!


    • It’s a good thing that in the US Christmas falls during the Winter – it’s the opposite in Brazil, so all the over-indulgences of the end of the year are much harder to take 😉


  2. Wow, this is one comprehensive meal – sausage, beef, pork, pork, pork, and black beans! (hammock here I come!). Lunchtime you say? What do you do for an encore at dinnertime? (or is the idea that dinner is a small meal following feijoada which would be brilliant). I like the broad array of flavours and particularly the inclusion of orange juice which I imagine would be positively delicious in this (reminds me a bit of coq a l’orange only without the coq 🙂 ). Beautiful photos at your niece’s home – and such a pretty table setting!


    • Dinner, for most people who had feijoada for lunch is…. nothing! Maybe a cup of tea and a small slice of toast, feijoada stays with you for a long time… Plus, the idea is to sit around and take your time, particularly on a Saturday.


  3. Feast time! So good to see what the feidjoada is supposed to look like, and read an authentic recipe! Thanks Sally! Vegetarians in Brazil? Do they starve? (I’m joking of course, but there’s such a meat culture in South America, as our Chilean friends keep telling us! :)).


    • So true! Brazilians live on meat for the most part, but more and more vegetarians are popping up. Of my three nieces, two are vegetarians, one very strict, the other will eat seafood.


  4. I’m so glad you posted this recipe – and adapted it for U.S. markets! I remember back in February when we were cooking recipes from Brazil that we had wanted to make this one, but I couldn’t figure out how. And you’re right – there are so many different versions out there. This looks just wonderful and I love your family photos. It looks like you had such a good time. 🙂


    • I am not too fond of the exotic components like pigs ears and tail – so this version suits me fine. However, the “carne seca” – dry meat – in the original version, makes this dish special. The taste and texture of that meat are impossible to match. But… we dance according to the music… always! 😉


    • The glasses were a nice touch, I agree… Feijoada is the type of meal that needs to be made for a large crowd. Impossible to scale it down, it’s just not the same. But, for me and Phil, I often make the Brazilian-style black beans I blogged about before. Very tasty too…


  5. Feijoada sounds great and your family feast must have been memorable. I have seen pigs ears in the market occasionally but think that I would like your Americanized version better.


    • Yes, the oranges are pretty much mandatory, and so is the “farofa” – think of farofa as the ground toasted rice over laarb, it is a textural thing, but in fact farofa has a lot more flavor for the way it is prepared. I absolutely MUST blog about it sometime.


  6. I have copied this recipe and hope to make it when it finally gets cooler for our friend who was in the Peace Corps in Brazil. It sounds wonderful.

    Have a great weekend, you two!


  7. Pingback: Zucchini Pie - Rhubarb and Honey

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