FEIJOADA [fay-zho-AH-da]

FEIJOADAA nice recipe for feijoada, a Brazilian dish, courtesy of Leblon Cachaca.  I can’t wait to make this some weekend.

In addition to the traditional barbecue, the other major meal that is quintessentially Brazilian is feijoada, a classic black bean and pork stew considered the national dish of Brazil. Typically served during weekend afternoons, feijoada is a challenging dish, and somewhat time-consuming to make. No worries, our Brazilian friend Danielle in South Florida has got you covered. She uses a recipe that is still delicious, but not too much of an upfront time investment. That way you can focus on the real fun part—sitting back with friends during a weekend afternoon. This recipe serves about 15 to 20 people (if you cook it, they will come) and takes about 2 hours from start to finish. That may sound like a while, but more traditional methods call for 8 to 24 hours of simmering over low heat on the stove. Without question, the longer you can simmer, the better. Here’s what you’ll need:

8 cans black beans (do not strain)
1 lb of 2 different kinds of sausage:
1 smoked and 1 spiced, sliced into ½” segments
½ lb pork ribs with bone, cut into pieces
½ lb pork loin, cut into 1″ cubes
½ lb bacon (the thicker the better),chopped into ¼ ” pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 stems green onions, chopped
10 leaves Italian parsley, chopped
6 bay leaves
3 tbsp black pepper
3 tbsp hot sauce (Tabasco is fine, unless you can get your hands on the authentic Brazilian “malagueta” hot sauce)
3 tbsp vegetable oil (we use extra virgin olive oil)
Salt to taste

To start, sauté the bacon in the pot with oil over high heat for about 5 minutes or until brown. Then, add all the other meat cuts and sauté for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Strain some of the fat, but not all of it—this is an important flavor agent! Next, stir in the onion, garlic, and bay leaves, and continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Blend 1 can of beans and 1 can of water in a blender, and add to the pot with the remaining cans (without straining the water in the can). Stir well. Add the black pepper and hot sauce, stirring well. Keep the burner on high until it begins to boil, then reduce heat to medium/low. Cook for another 40 to 60 minutes partially covered, stirring well. It should look like a thick stew, somewhat soup like. Stir often. If it starts getting too thick or starts sticking to the bottom, add some hot water. Add salt to taste. After about an hour, add the green onions and parsley and stir. Now it’s ready.

You’ll want to serve your feijoada with the Brazilian rice, farofa, and couve refogada. Simply spoon the feijoada over the rice on a plate, and place the farofa and couve on the side. Or even better, put it out on that “communal table” and instruct your guests to do it themselves. As a final Brazilian touch, serve orange slices with the meal—in addition to adding a splash of color to the plate, this serves as a palate refresher and adds some acidity, which is helpful for digestion. (Depending on how much of the pork fat that you strained—or didn’t—off the top of the feijoada, your guests may need it).

Remember: like the churrasco, feijoada is as much an afternoon ritual as it is a meal. The caipirinhas, the conversation, and the relaxed atmosphere make it the ultimate meal for a Sunday afternoon with family or friends.