Hi! I’m Rachel Dana, a non-blogging member, and I’m so excited to be hosting this month. I’m an American who has been living and cooking in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for the past 6 years. I love sharing tasty treats from the US with everyone here, so now I want to bring some Brasil to you guys!
For this month’s challenge I wanted to share a traditional Brazilian meal that I believe will be possible to make anywhere in the world, so I chose Feijoada. And not only a feijoada stew, a feijoada meal, so get ready to get into the collard greens, farofa, vinagrete, and some other fun things as well. If the plate isn’t overflowing with food, it would just be inappropriate.
Download the printable .pdf file HERE
Feijoada is a famous Brazilian black bean stew filled with meat, mostly pork parts. A really traditional feijoada will have pig ears, feet, nose…this originated with slaves and what was left for them to cook with. I made a more “modern” feijoada, I guess some would say, with sausage and ribs and ham, but this is how my in-laws make feijoada, and I find it easier, in many ways. If you want to add pig ears and such, please try it out.
Though farofa and vinagrete aren’t necessarily a part of everyone’s feijoada meal, they are definitely a part of mine. I think it will be fun to play with these recipes, I would have loved to do a whole challenge only on farofa and vinagrete, but the main component of the best farofa is mandioca flour, and since this isn’t easy for everyone to buy, I figured it wouldn’t work out too well. Fortunately there is farofa made with corn flour and even ground breadcrumbs, called Farofa da Rosca. So I think everyone can manage one of these three.
This feijoada recipe comes from Tia Cris, my aunt-in-law, who is in charge of the process during family gatherings. Most recipes people give you here are vague, nothing is definite, it’s by eye, hand, taste, whatever feels right. So the quantities are mine, but the techniques and ingredients are from family, friends, co-workers, and from eating a lot of good food. I know there are Brazilian members here, so I hope I do justice.
Blog-checking lines: Rachel Dana was our October 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge hostess! Rachel brought Brazil into our lives by challenging us to make Feijoada and Farofa along with some other yummy side dishes traditionally served with Feijoada, which is a delicious black bean and pork stew.
Posting Date: October 14, 2012
•If you soak the beans, do NOT drain the liquid, don’t take away this flavor and color.
•The goal is a nice thick flavorful liquid, which was my (only) fault. Just let your water cook down more than mine, or mash some beans at the bottom to thicken.
•1st, types of meat used here. I actually work on the sweet side of food, so cuts and types of meat are not my specialty, but I will do my best to help with any doubts. I included a photo below, which shows all the meats I used.
•I’ve used 2 types of linguiças, which are smoked pork sausages. Chorizos or other smoked sausages will work.
•The raw cut of pork is called pernil, which is a pork thigh, or what I believe to be fresh ham.
•Try to get a big thick cut of bacon, one that has a good portion of meat that you can separate and dice up and a good portion of fat to use for frying. If this isn’t possible, strips of bacon will do.
•The pork ribs I bought were salted, you can used smoked, and I imagine that unsalted ribs will work…
•Make sure you know if you’ve bought salted meat and if you need to soak it. I had this problem.
•With any salted meat, NOT including bacon and sausages, soak in a lot of water, either overnight, or first thing before you start your beans, and change the water at least 6 times. It was the first thing I did, and I left it for the last meat to fry, and it turned out great.
•Meats like bacon and smoked sausage, strong flavored meats, these will really add flavor to your final feijoada!
•Fry all your meat until well cooked and browned, seal those guys up. You want your sausage pieces brown, you want your pork well done, ribs cooked through, etc. Brown brown brown.
•You want to avoid as much fat as possible in the final feijoada. Drain well on paper towels, pat dry, etc., after frying. I also cut off any excess fat from my pork.
•I talk a lot about farofa below, but I want to get into here too. You can find yucca/mandioca flour at any Brazilian (and possibly Portuguese) market, probably a lot of south and Latin American countries, and some Latin American markets. Don’t be shy about buying a packet of yucca flour, you’ll want to play around and I can suggest other uses, including cakes.
•If you can’t find yucca/mandioca flour, corn flour or a nicely ground cornmeal can be used, or dry breadcrumbs. I think this makes it doable for practically everyone.
If collards aren’t in season where you are, you can use kale, spinach, mustard greens, beet greens, chard greens, I think any dark green tougher leaf.
We’re not big rice eaters at my house, but the method below is the basic Brazilian method for making rice.
This is really a meat based recipe, but you can definitely make a vegetarian feijoada. Any kind of tofu or vegetarian meats will work well. You will need to make up some of the smoky meat flavors with spices. I will invite the vegetarians to play around. As far as veggies, onions, carrots and celery could be cooked with the beans, I like to eat black beans with cauliflower (which I actually use as a substitute for rice), and winter squash is good… I’m reading about red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, leeks, mushrooms… and lots of spices like cumin, oregano and thyme, peppers like dried red, jalapeno, and chipotle.
I would like everybody to try and make a full feijoada meal:
To use dried beans, black if available,
To use some kind of smoked sausage, pork, beef, veg, chicken, or if there is nothing like sausage, maybe carrots sliced to look like sausages,
To make a vinagrete,
To make a farofa,
To make collard greens, if available
I want everyone to use the Brazilian method of just go with the flow and play around with the recipes. Different herbs, seasonings, meats, veggies, etc., are welcome, please.
As for rice, I included the Brazilian method of cooking rice, try it out, but it’s not required. We barely touched the rice, everything else is just more interesting, but it is traditional and good to have to mix with everything.
Soaking any salted meats (don’t soak bacon or sausage please): 2 hours – overnight
The whole feijoada process takes about 4-5 hours, but you probably won’t be working the whole time, this is based on soaking and simmering.
It takes about an hour to prepare your meats. 15 minutes to prepare the farofa, 15 minutes to prepare the vinagrete. 10 minutes to prepare the collard greens. The rice should be rinsed and set to dry beforehand, then 30 minutes to cook. Onion-garlic base takes about 10 minutes. There are quite a few components but it’s all very simple actually.
•For this feijoada recipe I used a 5 quart (5 litre) pot, and it was just big enough
•Frying pans or woks
•Food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle
I made this recipe for just 2 and we ate leftovers the next day, and will finish it off tomorrow.
2 cups (500 ml) (½ kg) (1 lb) dried black beans (produces about 6 cups of cooked beans)
350 gm (12 oz) chunk bacon (half will be used in the farofa)
Around 1 kilogram (2 pounds) of mixed meats, I used:
150 gm (5 oz) linguiça calabresa (smoked pork sausage)
200 gm (7 oz) paio (smoked pork loin sausage)
500 gm (18 oz) salted pork ribs
150 gm (5 oz) pernil (fresh ham, pork thigh)
4 bay leaves
3 tablespoons (15 ml) onion-garlic base (see recipe below)
Cover in water and rub, pour out water, refill and let soak. This can be done overnight, or first thing, before starting the beans. This will give a few hours of soaking and change the water at least 6 times. These are the ribs…
Wash thoroughly, put in a (5 litre) 5 quart (or bigger) pot, fill with water so that water is twice as high as the beans. Bring to a boil, let boil for a minute, turn off and cover. Let soak for an hour.
(Alternately, if you are familiar or have your own method of cooking beans, such as a pressure cooker, cook until they start to lose their hardness but are still firm).
After an hour, uncover. The beans will have soaked up the water and doubled in size. Add another 1-2 liters (4 -8 cups) of water so the beans are completely covered, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for an hour or so, until the beans have softened, but are still firm.
Add more water if it boils down below the beans, if you do this, remember to bring it back to a boil and turn down the heat to simmer.
While the beans are soaking and cooking, you can first prepare the onion-garlic base, the recipe is below, and then the meats.
Starting with the 2 sausages and going clockwise…
We have calabresa smoked sausage, paio smoked sausage, a nice block of bacon, charque, which is a carne seca (sun dried and salted beef), then salted pork ribs, and in the middle, pernil, which is pork thigh, fresh ham. The charque never made it in the pot, I have to say I wasn’t happy, it was such a beautiful piece of meat. I didn’t realize it was salted and I actually didn’t know how to cook it. Since I wasn’t able to prepare it correctly, I don’t feel comfortable trying to pass on the instructions, so no carne seca. But if anyone wants to jump in…
Chop all your bacon into small cubes. Slice your sausages around a ¼ – ½ inch (6 -12 mm) thick. Cut any pork or other meats into 1-inch (25 mm) cubes. Divide your ribs into pieces that will at least fit into your pot, the size is your choice.
Put the bacon fat over high heat in a large frying pan. If you really don’t want to use bacon fat, which I recommend, you can use any vegetable oil that takes high heat. You want around a ¼ cup (60 ml) of grease, cover your pan well. Take out the piece of bacon fat after enough fat as liqudified and put aside for later, in case you need more. I needed it for the ribs.
Next you have to fry all your meat in a very hot pan, until well browned and cooked through. Cook each type of meat separately, but in the same pan, and remember to drain well on paper towels, patting the tops as well to take off any excess fat.
First fry the bacon until nice and brown and chewy, and set aside half to use later in the farofa.
Then fry the sausages, the pork, the ribs, and any other meat. I did the ribs last because they had been soaking in water.
Really make sure each piece of meat is well sealed and cooked through, the bacon and sausage took about 5 minutes, the pork around 10, and the ribs around 15. Make sure that you have plenty of fat in the pan to fry the ribs so they cook through.
At this point, if your beans aren’t ready, you can relax, or prepare the vinagrete, the recipe is below.
When the beans have cooked to the point of being softened but still firm and your onion-garlic base and meats are ready, you can continue.
Add to the beans 3 tablespoons of the onion-garlic base, 4 bay leaves, and your meat. Add enough water to make sure everything is just covered.
Continue simmering until beans are done, which took me another 2 hours. After about 10 minutes, check the liquid to see if it’s salty enough for your liking. Depending on what meats you are using, the salt will have released into the liquid… if this hasn’t happened add a bit more salt, you want to taste the salt in your liquid, but it shouldn’t be too strong. This is a matter of taste as well. The water will start to boil down, for the first hour you should keep the water level to just the top of everything, but not completely covered. But you want your liquid to thicken, so start letting the water get lower and lower, with everything at least mostly immersed. You can also mash some beans at the bottom of the pot to thicken your liquid.
If you haven’t already, prepare your vinagrete, it’s nice to let it soak up flavor in the fridge for a while. While the feijoada is simmering you can also chop your collards, prepare the ingredients for your farofa, and slice your oranges.
To go with feijoada you need collard greens, it’s a perfect combination. You can chop these now, but cook them last, right before serving.
Wash 4 collard leaves, cut out the stem, and cut in half.
Stack all the halves on top of each other and tightly roll them up together.
Keep a good hold to keep everything together and start slicing very thin through the tube to get nice fine slices of collards.
When everything else is ready to serve, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over med-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of onion-garlic base, and let soften for a minute. Add all the collards at once, and stir to coat with oil.
You can add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for only about a minute, you just want to them to start to soften, evenly, over quick high heat. And done.
Take a spoonful of your favorite pepper sauce, I would say something simple, it could be Tabasco, something that you think will go well with black beans and pork. We use malagueta pepper and mash up some of the little peppers. Add a few spoonfuls of the liquid from your ready feijoada, and a spoonful of your vinagrete, and mix together in a little bowl.
Slice a couple of oranges for people to be able to grab when they need a refresher.
I think it’s better to let your feijoada cook until it’s ready, the beans are soft but firm, the liquid is a bit cooked down, thickened and tasty. Then turn off the heat, half cover, and prepare everything else, rice, farofa, hot sauce, and last, collards. If needed, re-heat your feijoada for a few minutes while you make the collards, then serve.
I included this photo to show the liquid of the final feijoada, which I was told wasn’t thick enough. Try to simmer down the liquid a bit lower than what’s shown here, to get a richer sauce. It was the only criticism I got.
The full plate (this farofa is over toasted, another thing to avoid)
You can see here how dark the outside of the ham gets, you really want everything to be well sealed before putting it in the pot.
This is enough for later use as well, if you want, you can halve the recipe.
2 medium white onions
4 large cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) salt
You want a paste, roughly chop the onions and garlic, then puree everything in a food processor or blender.
Farofa is one of the best things Brasil has to offer. Normally, it is made with farinha de manioca, yellow yucca flour, cooked in butter until slightly toasted. Less butter will leave it drier, and more butter will make a softer farofa. It is also made with farinha de milho, corn flour, or farinha de rosca, ground up dry breadcrumbs. You can use other things I imagine, they use panko where I work.
You can find mandioca flour at many different Latin American markets. It can be called mandioca flour, mandioc flour, yucca flour, cassava flour, but they should all be the same, though a Brazilian brand would be your best bet. Make sure not to buy ready-made farofa, “farofa pronta”, this is already toasted, no fun.
Since corn flour differs around the world, I asked my mom, who lives in Las Vegas, to test the recipe below with corn flour from the US. She bought Red Mills stone ground corn flour and followed my recipe. There is a photo below, it looks perfect and she says it reminded her of the one I made with yucca flour. I’ve made farofa with dry breadcrumbs as well, and it was delicious.
Farofa is best served alongside foods with moisture, such as meats, beans, vinagrete, etc. You can add just about anything to farofa, as long as it doesn’t have moisture, such as any cooked vegetables, meats, and the best, chopped banana. I’ve added some suggestions below.
¼ cup (60 ml) (60 gm/2 oz) butter
2 large eggs
½ cup (120 ml) chopped onion (about ½ medium onion)
175 gm (6 oz) fresh bacon, fried, which was set aside during the feijoada
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) yucca flour, corn flour or fine ground cornmeal, or dry breadcrumbs
Melt half of your butter, 2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz), over med-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Crack the two eggs into the pan and lightly break the yolk and spread around, but don’t break up too much.
When the egg has cooked, almost fully, break up into med-large pieces. The onions will brown quite a bit under the egg, but I like this flavor. Add the cooked bacon, and stir. Add the rest of the butter, 2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz), and stir to melt. Lower the heat to medium, toss in the yucca flour and stir well, it will quickly soak up all the butter and start to stick to the eggs, onion, and bacon.
Cook, stirring for minute, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and keep stirring and cooking until the yucca flour has clumped together nicely and become golden, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to brown too much. Taste it, it should taste toasty but don’t let it burn! Taste test works here, think of frying breadcrumbs
This is banana farofa, one of my favorite things ever. The pieces of banana get coated in a crunchy buttery loveliness.
This is the farofa my mom made with corn flour, following this recipe, she did great!
Really feel free to have fun with your farofa, this is one of the reasons I was so keen to share it. Make farofa de banana to serve with a nice pork loin. Add green olives, corn, peas, asparagus pieces, sausage, ham, herbs, things like this that are leftover in your fridge, etc., etc. Add more butter for a softer farofa that can be eaten alone (that’s what my mom wants to do).
Vinagrete, like farofa, has many variations and uses. This is a basic recipe, I used yellow bell pepper and chopped arugula, very refreshing and really gives a lift to the final plate. Farofa and vinagrete often go together and are my man’s favorite food.
1 large bell pepper (capsicum), diced, about 1½ cups
1 large tomato, diced, about 1 cup
1 medium onion, diced, about 1 cup
½ cup (120 ml) white wine vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
2 tablespoon (15 ml) water
2 tablespoons – 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or arugula (rocket)
salt and pepper to taste
Chop the bell peppers, tomatoes and onions into small/medium pieces. Chop your parsley or arugula. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir well to combine. Press down on the veggies, the liquid should come almost to the top of the mixture, you want everything pretty much immersed.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
I think a nice young chopped summer squash would be good, and it’s delicious with boiled whole quail eggs. I’ve seen it served with mussels, different meat dishes, it goes with many a meal.
1 cup (250 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) white long grain rice
3 tablespoons (45 ml) oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) onion-garlic base
Wash your rice in a sieve and let it dry. Heat oil in pot and add the onion-garlic base, cook for a minute to soften. Add the dried rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes, constantly stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pot or burn. Add enough boiling water so the water comes up 2 fingers over the rice. Cover and simmer for around 20 minutes and turn off heat. Fluff with a fork, cover, and let rest for another 10 minutes.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The Feijoada stew is good in the fridge for around 5 days. Vinagrete stays good for a week or two. Farofa is good the next day, more if it’s drier and with fewer ingredients.
Couple videos showing how to make Feijoada and Farofa: