Some say that Feijoada is the National Symbol of Brazilian Cuisine. This dish breathes culture, flavor and colors of Brazil.
The story I grew up hearing about Feijoada was a good one. African slaves with their amazing creativity and little resources use the scraps of pork and bovine meat, parts that the European masters would not eat, and cooked them with their beans for flavor.
Traditionally Feijoada [fay-JWA-da] is made out of meats that you probably will never imagine eating. Growing up, I was always puzzled by how the dish looked but once the first bite was taken… Absolutely goodness!
Have you ever considered using ears, tail, tongue, feet, and scraps of ribs in your beans? Me either, but originally these were some of the pieces added in the stew.
What once was considered slave food became a sensation, an icon of the Brazilian Cuisine. Feijoada is now gourmet, and served in the best restaurants in the country! Feijoada is still the Saturday dish made at home for the family, and the party tasty attraction for a birthday or a neighborhood gathering.
Don’t be quick to judge by the looks, it may not appeal that great to your eyes, but as soon as you taste it…you are hooked for the rest of your life.
As a Brazilian, I can’t live without beans and rice, it is a perfect marriage. Try to take the jelly out of the peanut butter here in America and you will have crying children at your table. The same thing is with Brazilians, beans will always be served with rice.
For this post I will focus only on the main dish, the Feijoada. When you order Feijoada in a restaurant, they will normally bring you a “Feijoada Completa” or the complete Feijoada. Here is a typical list of side dishes served with it and they are the color of this dish.
Arroz Branco (White Rice), Farofa (Toasted Cassava), Couve Mineira (Collard Greens, but I prefer Kale, not the curly ones), Fatias de Laranjas (Orange Slices) and Banana a Milanesa (Breaded Fried Bananas).
I usually make a very large pot of Feijoada. It will cook for a few hours and the house smells just like good times. I purpose leave some broth in the pot because it becomes a shot of goodness, know in Brazil as “caldinho”.
Before the Feijoada is served, it is common to have the black bean broth from the Feijoada as an appetizer. At my house, as soon as I say the word “caldinho” my children are waiting in the kitchen for their treat.
My American version of Feijoada does not have any strange parts of an animal. In fact is very simple. I am mainly looking for the same flavor, texture and of course, memories. After many tries the recipe below is my best combination since moving to America, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Simple Feijoada or Brazilian Bean Stew
- 2 lb. black beans
- hot water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup green onion
- 1 large tomato
- 4 garlic cloves
- 16 oz thick bacon
- 14 oz beef smoked sausage
- 24 oz pork center cut loin filet
- 4 bay leaf
Clean and soak your black beans overnight in a large container.
Chop the onions, cilantro, green onions, tomatoes and garlic, saute
them in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Using the same frying pan from the vegetables, browned the meat
individually, I normally do bacon, sausage then the pork. Set aside.
In a large pot add the saute vegetables and the browned meat. Let it
cook together for 2 minutes. Add the beans and mixed well.
Add the hot water, enough to cover the beans completely. In high heat,
bring it to a boil and after that lower the temperature to medium heat.
Add salt, pepper and bay leaf (bay leaf will make ordinary beans into extraordinary). Cover the pot and let it cook for 3 hours or until the beans are completely done. The process should be watched carefully. If the beans burn on the bottom of the pot, everything is gone.
After 1 1/2 hours uncover the pot and let some of the water evaporate. If the water is evaporating too fast add a little more hot water. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
You can freeze the Feijoada for a month. It will last a week in the fridge and the second day, the flavor is even better.
Try adding baby back ribs, corn beef, smoked ham hock, chorizo sausages or meat stew. Make sure they are cubed and browned before adding to the pot.
Feijoada can be served for a family of four (like mine) or in a large gathering. The process is the same, you will choose which meats and sausages you will want in it. If you are brave enough a little “pig’s ear or feet” will not hurt. That was a joke in case you didn’t get it.
So glad I got to share this dish with you. Please, if this is your first time making it, contact me anytime. I would love to help you. I want your first Feijoada to be an enjoyable experience!