Feijoada: Brazil’s National Dish

Serves: 8 • Time: 3 hours, plus 6 hours soaking

Feijoada is the uncontested national dish of Brazil. Like many down-home foods, there is no set ingredient list or procedure. It is made with what is available, and the final result is meant to be enjoyed, eaten slowly—perhaps with family and friends on a Saturday afternoon while watch a soccer match. Though no one quite knows the origins, it seems to bring bits of Brazil’s vast cultural influences all together in one dish. It’s a long and ambitious dish to make, but well worth the effort. See Note below for instructions to make a vegetarian version.

Feijoada
© The Frynamic Duo

Bean Stew

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups dried black beans, rinsed
  • 1 lb. pork spare ribs
  • 1 lb. pork rib tips
  • ¾ lb. smoked slab bacon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ¼ lb. chorizo
  • 5 scallions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. BR Spices churrasco spice mix
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Orange slices, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. MAKE THE BROTH: Place the beans in a large bowl and cover generously with cold water. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 and up to 12 hours.

2. In a large pot, combine the pork spare ribs, rib tips, slab bacon, and bay leaves. Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover the meats. Cover and bring the broth to a simmer over low heat. Cook until the meats are tender, about 45 minutes, skimming any solids that rise to the surface as necessary. Remove the cooked meats from the pot and strain over a bowl to reserve the broth.

3. COOK THE BEANS: Drain and rinse the soaked beans and add them to the pot. Add enough of the strained broth to cover the beans. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce to a low simmer. Allow the beans to cook until tender, 1½ to 2 hours, skimming any solids that rise to the surface as necessary. Season to taste with salt, then drain the beans over a bowl to reserve their cooking liquid.

4. SEASON THE SOUP: Return the pot to the heat. Heat the oil over moderate heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chorizo, scallions, garlic, and spice mix. Cook, stirring frequently, until very hot and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the drained beans to the pot and enough of their strained liquid to make a stew-like consistency. Simmer until the feijoada is very flavorful, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove 2 cups beans and blend into a paste, then mix into the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Remove the meat from the bones and dice. Remove the rind from the bacon and dice. Add the diced pork and bacon to the beans and simmer 15 minutes.

6. Serve with the Cashew-Coconut Rice, Collard Greens, Farofa, and orange slices.

NOTE: To make a vegetarian version, omit the meat and skip Step 2.

Cashew-Coconut Rice

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups white short grain rice
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 3 Tbsp. Monama Brazilian nuts spread
  • Salt
  • Cashews, crushed, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the oil in heavy saucepan over moderate-high heat. Add the rice and toast, about 3 minutes. Pour in the coconut water and 2 cups water. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 to 25 minutes, then remove from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. Allow to cool.

2. Mix in the nuts spread and season with salt. Garnish with crushed cashews.

Brazilian Collard Greens

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large bunch collard greens, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Salt

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over moderate-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the collard greens and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and cook until the leaves are further wilted and give off moisture, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Farofa

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ lb. slab bacon
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • ¾ cup manioc, yuca, flour (farofa)

DIRECTIONS

1. Cut off and discard the outer fat from the bacon, then chop into fine dice. In a heavy skillet over high heat, combine the bacon and butter and cook, stirring frequently, until the the fat has rendered and the bacon begins to brown, about 7 minutes.

2. Stir in the manioc flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 45 to 60 seconds.

NOTE: To make a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and add 6 Tbsp. butter total.

 

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