Feijoada, Guinea-Bissau Style

A plate of feijoada and rice.

Feijoada (Portuguese pronunciation: [fejʒuˈadɐ]) is a stew of beans with beef and pork. The name feijoada comes from feijão, ‘bean’ in Portuguese. It is widely prepared in the Portuguese-speaking world, with slight variations.
The basic ingredients of feijoada are beans and 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.


Guinea-Bissau is a small country on the west coast of Africa. It was colonized by Portugal in the 19th century, and achieved independence in 1974, at which time the name of the capitol city, Bissau, was added to the name to differentiate it from Guinea (formerly French Guinea) to he south. Of course, as a former Portuguese colony, feijoada has made its way into the culinary repertoire.

This has so far been the most challenging recipe to create of any I’ve posted so far. I only managed to find four recipes, all of them YouTube videos in Portuguese rather than written down. Of those four I’m pretty sure that one of them is actually a Brazilian recipe that for some reason has something about Africa in it’s notes. I’m a pretty good cook, so I can tell a lot from just watching the videos, but I don’t speak Portuguese, so the nuances are lost to me. Luckily most of the videos had text listing the ingredients either in the video or in the notes, so with lots of pausing the video and switching tabs to Google Translate I was able to get at least some idea of ingredients without totally guessing, but quantities were rare, so I’m left guessing on that.

Then again, in most of the world, especially poor countries like Guinea-Bissau, the amount of something you put in the pot is often going to change from one batch to the next, based on what you have available. Two of the videos I watched for this came from the same woman, and while a lot of it was the same, she did have a couple of different ingredients in the two different batches. So, for a number of ingredients I’ve just left the recipe with no quantities. Use the amount that feels right to you. For example, I used about 2 cloves of garlic, the tail end of a jar of tomato puree left from my last recipe, and about ¾ of a head of cabbage, also left over from the last post.

The biggest difference I found between this version and the original Portuguese one is the relative lack of Paprika. It still includes chouriço sausage, so there’s some, but it isn’t the predominant flavor. The major flavor in this version comes from the salt pork and chicken bouillon. I have noticed that Knorr cubes seem to be a pretty common flavoring in a lot of recipes from African countries that were under European colonization into the later parts of the 20th century, so I suppose that’s the “African” element in this recipe.

Speaking of salt pork, this is the element of the dish that I had the biggest struggle figuring out. “Carne salgada” is pretty straight forward to translate (salt meat), but the meat used in the videos was obviously not the pork-belly based salt pork sold in grocery stores here in the upper midwest. It appeared to maybe have some bones in it, so I decided to go for salted pigs tails from Sams Caribbean*. In the end I did pick the meat off the bones before adding it to the final pot, because I know from past experience that I don’t really like having a bunch of little tail bones floating around in my beans. You could probably use whatever salt pork you can find, or even salt your own a day before you intend to use it. Again, use what feels right to you.

I bought the chouriço and morcella from Portuguse Basket* this time. Shipping was a little slow, but I was happy with the product I received.

Although it only made it to the optional list and I didn’t add them this time around, the last unusual ingredient is cracklings. Also known as chicharones or pork rinds, this it the crispy bits left over when you render the fat from pork belly.

Feijoada, Guinea-Bissau Style

Serves: 8-10
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2-3 hours
Total: 2-3 hours, plus overnight soaking

500 g butter beans
750 g salted pork

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
Garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
Green peppers, sliced
Piri piri or Scotch bonnet pepper, whole

Tomato puree
Green cabbage, in large chunks
Carrots, sliced
1 bouillon cube

1 medium blood sausage (morcella)


1 medium chourico sausage

Bay Leaves
Black Pepper

Clean your beans and soak in cool water over night at room temperature. Cover the salt pork with clean water and soak over night in the refrigerator.

Drain the pork and cover with fresh water bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 hours or so, until tender. Remove the meat from the pot, and reserve the broth. 

Meanwhile drain the beans, cover with clean water and bring to a boil. Simmer until just tender, 45 minutes or so. 

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large pot. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes, then add the peppers and tomato. Sauté until the tomato starts to break down. 

Add the cooked pork to the pot and cook for a couple minutes. 

Add the tomato puree, cabbage and carrots, along with the stock from the pork and the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the blood sausage on top. Cook for 1-2 minutes to plump the sausage. Remove the sausage, add a splash of vinegar, and the cooked beans. Return to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Slice the chourico and blood sausage and add to the pot. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with Rice. 

*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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