Feijoada (Brazilian Black Beans)

Tabitha:

To continue on with the bean theme – I thought I would post a recipe for feijoada – Brazilian black beans.

Amy and I had this recipe at a family gathering on a trip to Brazil a few years ago.  I still remember how good it tasted!  This recipe is large – so feel free to half the recipe if you so desire…or better yet – make the full batch and invite a bunch of people over to share a meal with you!  It also freezes well for a quick meal on a later date.  This recipe is very filling, full of fibre, and very low cost!  Serve it with some greens on the side and you have a complete meal.

Our trip was to Curitiba, Brazil – each region will have variations in how it is cooked and served.  Our family served it with orange slices and a sprinkle of farofa (toasted manioc flour).  Sounds a bit strange to our North American palates but it is rather delicious!

This recipe was featured in National Geographic Traveler magazine, July/August 1999 issue and on the Peace Corps website in 2004.  Both Amy and I value making foods using local, available ingredients (less food miles that way) so we have altered the recipe to ingredients that are available and easy to find in our small, rural towns.  Enjoy!

Feijoada (Brazilian Black Beans)

Recipe:

8 cups dried black beans

1 large package farmer sausage or other sausage as desired and available

2 bay leaves

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

1. The night before, soak the beans in a large bowl with water to cover at least 3-4 inches.

2. The next morning, drain the beans and place in a large pot with water to cover by at least 3 inches. Bring the beans to a boil in medium heat.  Add chopped sausage or other meat if using.

3. Add bay leaves to the beans. Simmer for about 2 hours or until soft, stirring from time to time, adding water as necessary to keep beans covered. Keep an eye on the beans so they don’t burn at the bottom.

4. Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or other non-stick skillet) over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add two ladles of beans and mash them. Put this back into the pot. It will thicken and season the beans.

5. Continue to simmer gently for at least another hour, adding water as necessary. A good feijoada should have a creamy consistency when done. Remove the bay leaves. Take the meats out at this point and serve them separately on a platter or leave them in with the beans, it keeps them hot.

6. To serve feijoada, put a mound of rice on your plate and place a ladle or two of feijoada on top. Arrange oranges around the sides. Sprinkle the beans with farofa (see recipe below).

Variation:

The traditional feijoada recipe calls for fancy meats that are not available in our small towns.  The actual recipe calls for:

3 pounds carne seca (Brazilian salted cured beef)

2 pounds sweet sausage (Portuguese choriço when available)

2 pounds baby back spareribs

Simple Farofa (Toasted Manioc Meal)

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons of butter

3 cups manioc flour (I used corn flour – as I couldn’t find manioc flour in Kenora)

Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet.

2. Add manioc meal and cook over low heat stirring constantly until golden.

3. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

4. Sprinkle on beans as desired.

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