Feijoada à Brasileira, revisited

A plate of Brazilian feijoada with collards and orange slices.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to spend some time exploring the variations on Feijoada that exist across the different countries that Portugal colonized. This version, from Brazil, is probably the most famous one, at least here in North America.

Those of you who’ve been following me long enough to remember when I first posted this back on New Years day of 2020 will recall that I messed up the farofa topping by trying to use finely ground cassava flour. This time around I had the right product, coarsly ground cassava (also know as gari in African cuisines) and it worked great. I think the breadcrumbs I wound up using last time were an acceptable substitute for those of you who don’t do a lot of adventurous cooking, but if you like exploring international cuisines it’s definitely worth buying a bag of the the real deal. I’ve added some photos of the process both below and on the original post.

This time around I just went with sausages that I could find here in a midwestern grocery store. This time around they did have a Mexican style hot chorizo in link form, and for the smoked sausage I just used a smoke cajun style sausage. Still delicious and cheaper than paying shipping.

Keep reading below for the original post from January 1st, 2020


Feijoada over rice with collard greens and orange slices.

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.
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.

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

Here’s another stop on the tour of pork and beans “national” dishes around the world. Feijoada originated in Portugal, and versions of it are found in every country they colonised. Based on my research for this recipe, I suspect that here in the USA the Brazilian version, using black beans, is the one people are most likely to have heard of. A Google search for “feijoada recipes” didn’t bring up any other versions on the first page.

As you can imagine, in a country the size of Brazil, even for a so called “national dish”, there are different versions in differnt regions. While black beans are prefered in  Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, in Goias and Bahia brown or red is preferred. Some parts of the country add vegetables to the stew.

This is truely a meat lover’s dish. I put in two kinds of sausage, two cuts of fresh pork, bacon, smoked ham hocks, and carne seca (which is basically beef jerky). For the sausages I used linguiça for the smoked, and a hybrid Mexican/Spanish chorizo from Porter Road* for the fresh. Here in Duluth, MN I wasn’t able to find linguiça*, and the only fresh chorizo was in bulk rather than link form, so I had to order them online. I also got carne seca* from Amazon, but you could use a good beef jerky- just make sure it’s fairly salty and not a flavor that won’t match the dish. Traditionally feijoada would have a bunch of random pig parts- ears, snouts, trotters, tongue… I have listed some of those in the optional ingredients. Feel free to add them or substitute them for some of the other meat.

For entertaining this could be served by pulling the meat out of the pot and piling it in the center of a platter and arranging the beans and other accompaniments around it, so people can choose what they want. Since I wasn’t entertaining I just ladled it from the pot onto my plate. Since everything kind of turns the color of black bean juice, you can cut the sausages into different shapes so that you can tell which one is which. On a similar note, I only used a couple pork ribs, and pulled the meat off the bones at the end, but if entertaining you could add enough ribs for everyone to have some and leave them on the bone as a sort of prize piece or focal point. Or you could take them off the bones from the start, but do throw the bones in the pot so that some of the marrow and colagen can cook out into the broth.

This filled my 7 quart dutch oven literaly to the brim. Luckily it still had lots of liquid, so I didn’t have to stir it very much. In the end I had to keep it boiling fairly vigourously for at least another 30 minutes beyond my predicted time because it was still too watery. I probably should have either started with a little less water, or turned the heat up higher in the begining of the cooking process, as well as left the lid off. I had turned it down to barely a simmer and left the lid on for the first hour.

In Brazil, Feijoada is usually served with rice, collard greens, orange slices (to aid digestion), and farofa, which is a dish made of toasted manioc (casava) flour and fat, usually bacon and/or butter. Here’s where I had my first complete failure in this blog project; when I research farofa on it’s own, almost every recipe I look at talks about the texture of the flour (you want a coarse meal that looks like breadcrumbs, not a fine flour), but none of the feijoada recipies mentioned that (or at least didn’t stress it enough that I retained the information). So I fried up some bacon, added some garlic, and threw in the (finely ground) casava flour. I think if I had stopped there I might have been able to pretend it was right, although it didn’t have the crunch it’s supposed to, but when I added butter it turned into a sticky, wet, pasty mess and wound up in the garbage. Lukily I had removed the bacon bits to add back in at the end, so I didn’t waste them. I wound up toasting some breadcrumbs in butter with some garlic, and sprinkled that with the bacon bits over the top of the feijoada for some crunch. You want this type of casava flour*, NOT this one*.

Not the fluffy, sprinklable topping I was looking for 😦

For the collard greens I reused the pan I had browned the meat and onions in. I added some olive oil and garlic, and then threw in the chopped collards and a half cup or so of chicken stock, put the lid on and let it braise for a while until the greens were soft.

I was expecting this to be a fairly hands off dish- chop a few things, throw them in a pot, let it cook, but the reality was that once I added the ham hocks and carne seca, I spent most of the next hour cutting and browning the meats, and the third hour preparing the sides. Granted I took time to vacuum seal and freeze the extra sausages, take photos, screw up the farofa… It’s certainly wasn’t two hours of hands on chopping and stirring, but I did have to stay near the stove to keep an eye on things. I could probably have sent some texts or changed a load of laundry, but not read a book or gone out to shovel snow.


Feijoada à Brasileira

Serves: 8
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3-4 hours
Total: 3-4 hours, plus soaking time

16 oz. dry black beans
Water to cover by 2-3 inches
2 bay leaves
1-2 smoked ham hocks
½ lb. carne seca, chopped
½ lb. bacon, lardons
1 lb. linguica or smoked sausage, sliced
½ lb. Mexican chorizo or fresh sausage
1 lb. pork Shoulder, cut into 1” pieces
⅔ lb. pork ribs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 ⅓ cups onion, diced
7 garlic cloves, minced
Salt or to taste
Black pepper or to taste

White rice, cooked
Farofa (see below)
Orange slices
Collard greens, braised

Optional:

½ cup green onion
8 oz. diced ham
⅓ teaspoon coriander
½ cup cilantro
¼ cup parsley
1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomato
2 ½ tomatoes
2 smoked pork chops
3 beef short ribs
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ¾ lb. pigs feet
¾ lb. pigs tails
½ lb. pork tongue
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Pick over beans and remove any stones, dirt,etc. Rinse, drain, and then cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain beans, place in large, heavy soup pot or dutch oven. Add water to cover by about 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour, uncovered.

Add bay leaves, ham hocks and carne seca. Continue to simmer for another hour.

Meanwhile, place bacon in a cold pan and heat over medium heat until the fat has rendered and bacon is browned, but not crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Brown the sliced smoked sausage and whole fresh sausages in the bacon fat. Remove and set aside. Add the pork and brown it as well. Remove and set aside. Slice the fresh sausage.

Add olive oil to the fat in the pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 5-8 minutes, until golden.

Add browned meats and sauteed onion mixture to the beans. Continue to simmer for another hour, adding water if needed.

When beans are very soft, remove ham hocks and ribs, and allow to cool. Mash about ¼ of the beans. If it seems too watery, continue to cook, uncovered, until it thickens. You’re looking for a nice gravy consistency rather than watery. When ham hocks and ribs are cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones and chop. Add meat back to the pot and stir in. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with white rice, farofa, braised collard greens and orange slices.


Farofa

(Edited 9/6/2021) My original post talked about how I used the wrong product for this, so the recipe was untested. As of now I have retested with the correct cassava flour and can report that it works as intended.

5 oz bacon, lardons
4 cloves garlic
1 cup coarse casava flour
1 ⅔ Tablespoons butter

Render bacon in a saute pan until crispy. Remove. Add minced garlic to bacon fat and saute 30 seconds. Add casava flour and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in butter. Allow to cool. Sprinkle over feijoada.

A plate of Feijoada , with braised collard greens and oranges.





*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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