Feijoada: Pork and Black Bean Stew

Feijoada: Pork and Black Bean Stew

Hi Everyone, I can’t believe I finally made the decision to make a blog about Brazilian food. Why didn’t I do this earlier, I wonder? It’s such a joy to be able to write about food and to share my Brazilian recipes with Australia and the world. I mean, what’s better than talking about food? Just cooking and eating, of course!

Maybe the fact that I am now living in Tasmania, a place with the most beautiful fresh produce, made me start writing this blog once and for all. I feel really lucky that I had the opportunity to move to this lovely part of the planet: one of the most liveable places in the world, a wonderful island where you feel so close to nature that has clean air and waters and breathtaking landscapes. Tasmania is also one of the destinations to be if you love nature and/or are a passionate cook or foodie. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Australia, don’t miss the chance to come to the Apple Isle and be amazed by what you are going to experience here.

Now to food and probably the most popular and known Brazilian recipes of them all: Feijoada. I’ve chosen to post Feijoada this month for two reasons: 1) it is probably the most known Brazilian recipe in foreign countries and 2) even though it is eaten in Brazil all year round it is already winter in Hobart and Feijoada is a perfect winter comfy dish: hearty, rich and flavoursome.
The word Feijoada comes from the Portuguese word feijão that simply means bean. Legend says that Feijoada was created by the slaves who used leftover meats from the landlords and mixed with cooked black-turtle beans. However, historic records prove that in reality Feijoada originated from a Portuguese stew that included meats such as beef, sausages, ham, speck, pork loin, beans and other vegetables such as onions, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and cabbage. The Brazilian Feijoada has inherited the heartiness of its distant Portuguese cousin and often has salted-cured beef, smoked pork cuts, sausages, all sorts of pork parts (including ears, snout, throttles and tail) and black-turtle beans.
The official days in which Brazilians eat Feijoada are usually Wednesdays and Saturdays – and only at lunch time. I think Saturday is more ideal because a ciesta after a Feijoada meal is almost inevitable. Far from being a light meal, what is a banquet for Brazilians can be considered a little too exotic by many foreigners due of its heartiness and strong smoky flavours.
But forget the exoticness and I urge you to give it a go at this dish. I would love to make a complete Feijoada with the lot, but I decided to go for a version that is simpler and lighter and with ingredients are easily found at large supermarkets all over Australia. I promise that down the track I will go back to its origins and make one with all those strange but tasty pork’s parts. So stay tuned! The beauty of a complete Feijoada is that you don’t waste any parts of the animal making it a sustainable dish.
The Feijoada feast has rice, toasted manioc flour, pan-fried collard greens and sliced oranges, all topped up with a refreshing lime ‘Caipirinha’ cocktail or a cold beer. If you don’t feel like having all of that, just Feijoada, steamed rice, oranges and maybe a green salad will do the trick…

 

 Ingredients 

Stew:

500g black turtle beans

6 bay leaves

30g speck, cut into 2cm slices

2 chorizo sausages, sliced

1kg smoked ham hock

100g whole pancetta, cubed

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

400g smoked or fresh pork ribs, sliced between the bones

1 large onion, finely chopped

250g rindless bacon, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, crushed

2 long red chillies, finely chopped

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Pan-fried Kale:

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 long red chilli, finely chopped

1 bunch of kale, stalks removed, finely sliced

Vinaigrette (optional):

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbs white wine vinegar

2 tbs parsley, finely chopped

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

 

Brazilian-style rice* or steamed rice, to serve

Sliced oranges, to serve

Toasted cassava flour**, to serve

You will need to start this recipe one day ahead

*Recipe coming soon!

**Available online

 Instructions 

1. Wash the beans and place them in a large airtight container with enough cold water for beans to remain immersed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Rinse and drain beans and place them in a large stockpot with meats (except the bacon and ribs), bay leaves and cover completely with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Skim any scum from the surface during the cooking.

3. If using fresh pork ribs, lightly season the meat and in a medium frying pan, stir-fry over high heat with a little bit of olive oil for 3 minutes or until slightly sealed and caramelised. Deglaze with a little bit of the bean stock and pour ribs and juices into the stockpot.

4. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in bacon and fry for 5 minutes or until crispy. Add garlic and chillies and fry for a further 2 minutes. To thicken the stew, use a slotted spoon to remove about 2 cups of beans from the stockpot and add to the onion mixture. Using a potato masher, roughly mash the beans and put them add mixture to back to the stockpot. Stir to combine.

5. Cover and simmer for a further hour. Remove ham hock and set aside to cool. Remove and discard skin and bones, and roughly shred meat. Return pork to the stockpot and stir to combine. Stir in parsley.

6. For the pan-fried kale, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in garlic and chillies and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the kale and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. For the vinaigrette (if using it), combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

8. Serve the black bean stew with pan-fried kale, vinaigrette (optional), orange slices, rice and toasted cassava flour.

Serves: 10-12