Portuguese Feijoada, Revisited

A plate of Portuguese Feijoada

The next little theme I’m going to be exploring here over the coming weeks is all the variations that Feijoada has taken on as Portuguese colonizers spread this dish around the globe. And of course it made sense to start by revisiting the original, which I first posted about back in January of 2020.

As you can see in the photo above I did follow the optional adjustment of using white beans instead of kidney beans. I chose to just use up some odds and ends in my bean collection rather than buy more beans for this dish, so there some navy beans, some great northern, as well as a handful of a larger Spanish white bean. The dish certainly turns out more colorful with Kidney beans, but is still quite delicious this way.

I also ordered actual Portuguese style sausages this time, from Chaves Market* . As far as I can tell the biggest difference between Spanish Chorizo and Portuguese Chouriço is the grinding of the meat- Spanish is finely ground and all mixed together, while the Portuguese has big chunks of fat and meat. It’s also a semi-cured product, so works better sliced thicker and cooked in a stew than the dry Spanish chorizo that’s commonly available here in the midwest. As you can see, I kept the heat up too high at the end, and the blood sausage kind of disintegrated into the dish (that’s what all those little black flecks are). Again, not so attractive, but it didn’t effect the flavor.

Speaking of flavor, I was blown away by just how delicious this dish was. I don’t really remember the 2020 version of this dish so I can’t say if this one was significantly different from that, but compared to the similar Spanish dishes I’ve cooked recently, the flavor is drastically different. The Spanish dishes are comparatively bland and boring. I think the main difference is the inclusion of a few tomatoes and some cumin in this. It’s also possible that the flavoring in the sausages is different enough to make a big difference.

Keep reading below for the original post and recipe from 2020, and keep tuned in the coming weeks for a revisitation of the Brazilian version coming soon, before we head off to Africa and south east Asia for several other takes on this dish.


A plate of feijoada and a glass of red wine.

Feijoada (Portuguese pronunciation: [fejʒuˈadɐ]) is a stew of beans with beef and pork. It is commonly prepared in PortugalBrazilAngolaCape VerdeGuinea-BissauMozambiqueEast TimorGoaIndia and Macau, where it is also considered a national dish. However, the recipe differs slightly from one country to another.

Brazilian feijoada is made with black beans

The name comes from feijãoPortuguese for “beans”.

The basic ingredients of feijoada are beans with fresh pork or beef. In Brazil, it is usually made with black beans (feijoada à brasileira). The stew is best prepared over low heat in a thick clay pot.

It is usually served with rice and assorted sausages such as chouriçomorcela (blood sausage), farinheira, and others, which may or may not be cooked in the stew.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feijoada

There are versions of feijoada in every country that Portugal colonized. Last week I posted the Brazilian version, with black beans. This week we’re going back to the original. Feijoada à transmontana, from Trás-os-Montes in the northeast of Portugal, is considered to be the original version that spread throughout Portugal and on to the rest of the world.

Of course, like any many other traditional peasant foods, it morphed as it migrated. In northern Portugal red kidney beans are the bean of choice, but futher south white beans were more commonly grown, so that’s what they used. Similarly the types of sausage would vary from region to region, and the vegetables would vary depending on what was available.


I’m not calling my recipe feijoada à transmontana, because I have pulled in some ingredients that would be more common in other parts of the country, but I did use the kindey beans, cabbage and carrots.

I thought the Brazilian version made a giant pot of stew. I wound up moving this one into a stock pot because there was no way I was going to fit everything into my dutch oven. I guess I shoudn’t have told my wife that I didn’t need the biggest one when she bought it for my birthday!

This recipe uses no fewer than six differnt cuts of pork and sausage! Obviously you can use whatever you have avaiable. I do reccomend, however, using the pigs feet if you can find them. I struck out at two different butchers shops (although I suspect that may have had to do with unkowledgable evening staff, rather than being out) only to find them available in the grocery store! If you can’t find feet try for fresh hocks or another cut with a lot of bones and cartiledge. The collagen that is released when you cook them gives the stock a lot of flavor. If you really can’t stomach eating feet, you could just use the stock and discard the feet, but I highly recommend picking the meat and fat off the bones and and adding it to the soup. There isn’t a whole lot of meat there anyway, and chopped into small pieces you won’t even notice it.

I also recommend using the blood sausage if you can find it. Here in northern Minnesota there isn’t much of a Portugese or Spanish population, so I didn’t find any morcilla. However there is a sizable Polish population, and I found kiska, which is the Polish version. Morcilla/ Morcela (depending whether you are in Spain or Portugal) is usually made with pork, rice and pork blood. Kiska uses beef blood and buckwheat instead of rice. Up until now I believe the only blood sausage I’ve eaten was the black pudding we used on our Irish breakfast plate at the Irish Pub I worked at a decade ago, so I can’t really say how close kiska is to the Iberian versions. I do know that I thought it worked well in the dish and tasted delightful.


Portugese Feijoada

Serves: At least 8
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3:45 plus overnight salting.

2 pork feet
2 ¼ lbs. baby back ribs, cut into individual ribs
1 ⅔ lbs. pork belly, cut into 1” pieces
Salt

3 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
¼ lb. smoked bacon, diced
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 ½ cups dry white wine
2 bay leaves
5 ½ cups pork broth (from cooking pork feet)
1 cup crushed tomato
1 sprig parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 ½ sticks chorizo, sliced
or
1 ½ lb. chourico, sliced
4 15 oz cans kidney beans
or
1 ⅓ lb. dry kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked.
1 15 oz. can white beans
1 lb. blood sausage
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Optional:

1 ⅓ lbs. dry white beans (substitute for other beans)
1 ham hock
2 lbs. linguica sausage
2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 lb. pork loin, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pork ear
1 ½ lbs. veal shank, cut into pieces
1 smoked sausage, sliced
1 bunch kale
3 medium potatoes, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cans red pinto beans (substitute for equal amount of kidney beans)
6 cups spinach
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups water
3 teaspoons thyme
4 teaspoons butter
1 ¾ oz. ham, diced

Start the night before you plan to cook. If your pigs feet are whole, take a cleaver or heavy chefs knife and hack several slits through the skin into the feet, to allow fat and collagen to cook out. If the feet are split this isn’t nescessary. Generously salt the trotters, ribs and pork belly, and refrigerate overnight to allow the salt to penetrate. If using dry beans, soak them over night as well.

The next day, place salted trotters in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skim, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or so, until meat is tender. If using dry beans, cook your soaked beans in a separate pot at this time.

When feet are cooked, remove them from the broth and set aside to cool. Reserve the broth. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bone. Discard the bones and chop meat and fat into small pieces.

Heat olive oil in a stock pot or very large dutch oven over medium hear. Add bacon cook for a few minutes, until the fat renders. Remove bacon and set aside. Brown ribs in bacon fat, working in batches if necessary. Set aside. Brown the pork belly. Add onion and saute for a couple minutes. Add garlic and paprika, and continue to saute until the onion is soft and golden. Deglaze with white wine, raise heat to high, and cook until wine has nearly evaporated.

Add bay leaves, pork broth, crushed tomato, parsley, cumin, carrots, cabbage, chorizo, bacon, ribs, pork belly and meat from trotters. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or so.

Add beans and blood sausage and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until everything is tender and flavors have blended. Once you have added the blood sausage try to stir gently to avoid breaking up the sausage.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.






*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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