Feijoada a Moda de Mineira

A bowl of Feijoada a moda de Minera, with farofa and orange slices.

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.

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

This week we’re eating Feijoada in the style of Minas Gerais. At first glance it doesn’t seem that different from the version we looked at a few weeks ago from Rio de Janeiro. But when you start to compare several different recipes from each region you can start to draw some conclusions about regional differences. I suspect that these variations probably exist from one cook to the next wherever you are in Brazil, but I see enough of a trend to suspect that maybe you’re more likely to find one version in one place than another.

The biggest thing I notice is that the version from Rio uses a lot of salted pork, while this one primarily uses fresh. There’s also the use of orange juice here, versus tomato in Rio.

Then there is the pork snouts. Based on the recipes I looked at it sounds like in Minas Gerais you’ll routinely find packages with pork feet and snouts together, specifically for making feijoada. This was the first time I’ve ever cooked a pork snout, and I’m kind of surprised that it seems to be one of the least popular of the “nasty bits”, because it seems to me to actually be a slightly more user friendly piece of meat than say feet or ears, in that it’s not full of tiny bones and there’s actually quite a bit of meat in a snout. Flavor wise, I think I would call it a cross between pork belly and ears; it’s fairly fatty, and has some of the same firm crunchiness that ears have, but maybe not quite as much. (I sometimes find the crunch of ears a bit off-putting, but the snout doesn’t really bother me.)

There are three types of salted-dried beef in Brazil; carne seca, carne de sol, and charque. As best I can tell the differences have to do with the amount of salt used in the curing process, and how far they dry it. Carne seca seems to be saltier than carne de sol, but otherwise similar, while I think that charque is drier, perhaps more similar to an American jerky? (Incidentally, the word Jerky comes from the word charque.) Charque won out in the recipes I looked at, and I considered buying some jerky to use, but in the end I just went with the carne seca I already had left over from my last post.

I chose to pick all the meat off the bones once it was cooked. I think in Brazil you will find the various bits cut into more manageable sizes, and you would generally just eat around the bones, but I’m not a big fan of doing that with all the tiny bones from a pigs foot- especially when I’m eating the leftovers at work. Snouts and ears don’t have bones, but are, in my experience, easier to cut into bite sized pieces once cooked, so I also threw them in whole and chopped them up at the end.

I’m guessing that Brazil has its own set of chili peppers that are commonly grown and used, but I didn’t bother to do any research on that front. My choices are pretty limited here in northern Minnesota anyway, so I just went with a jalapeño.

Farofa is a traditional side dish/topping, usually served with feijoada, that consists of toasted cassava meal. Most other recipes I’ve seen for it call for bacon and/or garlic with the cassava, but here I ran across a couple different recipes that added scrambled egg. One of them also included olives, which I haven’t tried yet. I did try the egg. It’s not bad, but I’d probably pick the bacon version in the future.

Of course in Brazil you’ll almost always find feijoada served with rice, farofa, couvre (sautéed collards or kale), and orange slices. I was feeling lazy again and skipped the rice and greens this time. I’m sure it would help complete the nutrition profile of the meal though.

After about three years, we finally dug our way to the back wall of our storage unit and I found the box with my pressure cooker! Pressure cookers seem to be a common tool in Brazilian kitchens, and showed up in a number of the recipes I looked at to create this one; I had actually already written the recipe with a pressure cooker in mind when I finally found it, and the timing with my first attempt at cooking a recipe for this blog since I started my new job was fortuitous. Of course if you don’t own a pressure cooker you can simply simmer your beans and pork in separate pots until they are cooked, which will probably take a couple hours.


Feijoada a Moda de Mineira

Serves: 8+
Prep: ~1 hour
Cook: ~2 hours
Total: ~3 hours, plus overnight soaking.

850 g black beans
465 g charque, carne seca, or beef jerkey
1 bay leaf

1 kg pork feet, sliced
410 g pork ribs

185 g bacon, diced
360 g paio or chourico sausage, sliced or diced
230 g calbrese sausage, sliced or diced

1 pigs ear
1 pig snout

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
½ cup parsley, minced
Chili pepper, to taste
½ bunch green onions, chopped

7 oranges, divided
2/3 teaspoon salt, or as needed

Butter
Olive oil
2 eggs, beaten. 
55 g coarse cassava flour (gari)

Optional:

3 cups white rice, cooked (serve on side) 
4 lemons, juiced
Olives, to taste- added to farofa
210 g smoked ribs
1 bunch kale, thinly sliced, sautéd 
½ kg beef
¾ kg Linguica sausage
¾ kg pork loin
2 pork tails
Tempero Mineiro, in place of garlic, onions and parsley. 
175 g salted pork loin
½ salted pork ear
1 kg salted pork ribs
1-2 salted pork tails
Hot sauce, to taste
170 g salted pork feet

Pick over beans, rinse and cover with cold water. Leave to soak over night. Cover charque and any optional salted meats with cold water and soak over night, changing water 3-4 times.

Drain the beans and charque, place in a pressure cooker with the bay leaf, and add water to the maximum fill level of your pressure cooker. Bring up to pressure and cook for about 15 minutes. Safely release pressure and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Place pork feet in pressure cooker with water to cover. Bring to pressure and cook about 20 minutes. Safely release pressure and add the ribs. Bring back to pressure and cook another 15 minutes. Safely release pressure and remove the meats. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the bones and chip meat into bite sized pieces.

Meanwhile, heat the bacon in very large pan over medium heat, until the fat begins to render. Add the sausages and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the beans with their liquid, along with the feet, ribs,ear and snout and bring to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes or so, until flavors have melded and sauce begins to thicken.

Remove ear and snout and cut into bite sized pieces. Return to pot, along with garlic, onion, parsley, chili pepper and green onion. Cook for another 10 minutes or so. Squeeze in the juice of 3 oranges and taste for salt. 

For the farofa, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil and butter in a sauté pan. Add eggs and scramble, leaving in largish pieces. Add cassava flour and stir for a minute or two. 

Thinly slice remaining 4 oranges. 

Serve the beans topped with farofa, with orange slices on the side. 

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