Brazilian-Style Beef Stroganoff

Brazilian-Style Beef Stroganoff

All over the web the story of how and when stroganoff was created varies from website to website but one thing is for sure, it is a Russian dish. One account says that the name of the dish comes from the VIP Count Pavel Stroganov who was a big fan of this beef stew and was known for his love of food and entertaining. The original Russian recipe is basically made with onions, butter, mushrooms, beef slices, sweet wine and sour cream and served with potatoes or pasta. Stroganoff was firstly introduced in Brazil in the beginning of the 50s in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian version has more ingredients than the Russian recipe and includes tomatoes, tomato sauce (ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, cognac, mustard and preserved champignons instead of fresh mushrooms and sometimes speck. The other differences are that in Brazil we add cream instead of sour cream and serve it with steamed rice and chips (or potato sticks). Some recipes may also include preserved hearts of palm and corn kernels. Another interesting fact is that in Brazil there are dozens of types of stroganoff, not only beef stroganoff. Brazilians are so fanatic by this dish that many versions were created to replace beef like the prawn, chicken, dried cod (baccalao), cheese and even vegan stroganoff with hearts of palm. Stroganoff reminds me of the weddings I used to go in the 80s in Brazil. I still remember clearly this huge buffet set in the middle of the room that included steamed rice, potato salad, cheese and ham lasagne, potato sticks, salads and roasted pork. The trendy stroganoff had to be served in silver dishes and was the...
Brazilian Barbecue Series – Rump Cap Barbecue Step-by-Step

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Rump Cap Barbecue Step-by-Step

As soon as the weather got warmer, more precisely in the beginning of spring an Australian friend of mine who is a fan of my website (thanks Pete!) asked me to publish a barbecue recipe. I thought it was a great idea but it took me a couple of months to decide what I was going to make. After watching a video on how to prepare the perfect mouth-watering Brazil’s rump cap barbecue I immediately got inspired! Starting with the rump cap, in the next few weeks I will be posting barbecue-related recipes, including refreshing salads, sides and desserts, all inspired by Brazil’s world famous barbecuing style and my own family recipes. Rump cap or top sirloin cap is a prime beef cut very popular in Brazil  known as picanha (pea-kan-yah). When cooked appropriately (rare or medium rare) this cut is incredibly tender, juicy and tasty. Because Brazilian beef cuts are different from Australian ones, rump cap is not a cut you will find easily at supermarkets – although I already saw them in large supermarkets in Brisbane. The best way is to ask your butcher to slice it for you. In Hobart I buy mine at West Hobart Gourmet Meats. Just show the chart below and explain that picanha (cut no. 8 – image source cozinhadadi.com) is the capping meat over the rump/top silverside and let them know they have to keep 1cm of fat layer. Notice the fat is extremely important as it enhances the flavour of the meat. Some Brazilians are so crazy about picanha that they even eat the fat! In order to have the authentic picanha cut only, you will have to cut the excess beef at home or ask your butcher to...
Brazilian Beef Stew with Rice and Warm Salad

Brazilian Beef Stew with Rice and Warm Salad

In Brazil lunch is the main meal and when people have time to cook lunch at home, the feast is often comprised of many dishes. The typical Brazilian lunch normally includes rice, beans, a meat dish, potato or cassava chips (check recipe here), salad and pan-fried vegetables. The preparation of so many things makes the lunch really time-consuming so the cooks start really early. First, the patient art of washing, peeling and finely slicing and chopping vegetables begins. When the cooking itself starts it is a festival of pans and pots. The first pan to go to the top of the stove is the pressure cooker with black turtle beans which will cook for about 45 minutes until very soft. In the meantime, pan no. 2 is used to prepare the rice which is fried with a little oil and cooked in boiling water.  Pan no. 3 is used to sautee the vegetables with some onions, garlic and olive oil. Pan no. 4 is where the cassava or potato is cooked. Pan no. 5 is a frying pan that will be used to deep-fry the cassava.  Are you tired yet? After 5 pans, there is still one to go, which will be used to prepare the cooked beans which are commonly flavoured with sauteed onions, garlic and bay leaves. For those who don’t have time or don’t feel like cooking but at the same time want to eat meals that taste like home-made there are many great restaurants in Brazil. The most popular ones that serve lunch are called kilo restaurants, which are a type of a smorgasbord buffet where people get charged by how much their food weighs on the plate (hence the name...
‘Vatapa’ Bahia’s Nut Puree with Prawns

‘Vatapa’ Bahia’s Nut Puree with Prawns

Extremely exotic, this Afro-Brazilian icon is another creamy and rich dish from Bahia made with xerem (a mixture of ground peanuts and cashew nuts), coconut milk and red palm oil (dende). This dish is so popular in Brazil that even the great composer and singer Dorival Caymmi cleverly turned into tribute song with the same name. He provides the recipe ingredients and some cooking tips and sets the tone that a good Vatapa must be stirred regularly, so it doesn’t go lumpy or burn. Dorival is absolutely right: Vatapa is so delicious that a song is more than deserved. You will also agree with him when you cook it and the irresistible aromas of palm oil, nuts and coconut milk start to float in your kitchen. Commonly used as a filling to the Acarajé fritters (recipe coming soon) or eaten with seafood or chicken, it can also be served as an exotic dip.  Ingredients  Prawns: 1kg prawns, peeled and deveined, tails intact 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic 1 long red chilli, finely chopped 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped Vatapa Puree: 250ml of coconut milk 100ml hot water 8 slices white block, crusts removed 1 cup toasted and unsalted peanuts 1 cup toasted and unsalted cashew nuts 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 2 long red chillies 4 large tomatoes, skinless and roughly chopped 50g dried Thai shrimp* 80ml red palm (dende) oil** 1 piece ginger (3 cm), grated Pinch of nutmeg Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste 1 red chilli (extra), sliced, to garnish Lime wedges, to serve Brazilian-style rice (recipe...
Osvaldo Aranha’s Steak Meal

Osvaldo Aranha’s Steak Meal

Many years ago, a traditional restaurant in Rio de Janeiro named this steak to pay tribute to Osvaldo Aranha, a Brazilian politician who became prominent in the early 30s. Osvaldo used to go to the restaurant quite frequently to have lunch with other politicians of that time and this steak was one of his favourites. It consists of a thick juicy eye fillet just seasoned with salt and pepper and served with a glorious golden garlic and butter sauce. The complete meal usually comprises of fillet,  home-made thin chips and farofa which is a Brazilian crumb made with cassava or corn flour. We Brazilians love our steak or barbecue served with a crunchy farofa. A tomato and oregano salad on the side balances out the dish that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner and it gets even more than perfect with a cold beer on the side. Ingredients Steak: 4 thick eye fillets (about 5cm high) Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste Vegetable oil, to fry Garlic and Butter Sauce: 2 tbs unsalted butter 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil 16 garlic cloves, finely sliced Tomato Salad: 500g tomatoes, roughly sliced 2 tsp olive oil ½ tsp vinegar ½ tsp ground mustard Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste Oregano leaves, picked, to garnish Potato Chips: 300g potatoes (about 2 large potatoes) Vegetable oil, for deep frying Rock salt, to taste 1 Qty Plain Farofa (see recipe here – Galinhada’s Accompaniment) Instructions 1. Remove the steaks from the fridge and set aside to allow them to change to room temperature. 2. For the salad dressing, in a small bowl whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Transfer...
Country-Style Brazilian Chicken Pie

Country-Style Brazilian Chicken Pie

Known in Brazil as Empadão de Frango, this is definitely our national chicken pie. There are countless versions and each family I know has its own recipe, but the best ones are those that make the chicken the king of the dish. The secret  is to cook the whole chicken in the stock to intensify the flavour of the meat. It is also very important to shred the bird very finely so it retains its moisture during baking resulting in a very creamy filling. The outcome is a pie with an intense chicken and buttery flavour that will literally melt in the mouth. There is a lot of work involved in cooking this pie and it is really time consuming but if you are a poultry fan you should give it a go and I can assure you will fall in love with this recipe. Note: for best results the chicken should be finely shredded:    Ingredients  To cook the chicken: 1 large (1.6kg) chicken, rinsed 1 large onion, quartered 1 large carrot, roughly sliced 1 leek (white part only), roughly chopped 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves, roughly sliced 2 dried bay leaves 1 tsp whole black peppercorns Enough chicken or vegetable stock to cook the whole chicken (about 3L) Filling Sauce: 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tomatoes, skin and seeds removed, finely chopped 1 tbs unsalted tomato paste 1 tbs corn flour ½ cup parsley, finely chopped ½ cup spring onions, finely sliced Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste 1 ½ qty shortcrust pastry (check recipe here) Egg wash:...