Feijoada Baiana

A plate of Feijoada Banana with rice, kale, farofa, and oranges.

The type of bean used in feijoada varies by region. While in the southeast, including Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, feijoada is typically prepared with black beans, in BahiaSergipe and Goiás brown or red beans are more commonly used.


Now we really start to see how one dish can take many different forms in a country as large as Brazil. Here in the United States, if you know what feijoada is, you would likely define it something like “a Brazilian black bean stew”. Certainly the black bean version is most popular and common in places like Rio de Janeiro, but in some regions of the country carioca beans, aka pinto beans, are more common. That said, almost half the recipes I looked at called for black beans, so feel free to use either.

The next paragraph in the Wikipedia article I quoted above talks about how in most of Brazil feijoada consists of beans and meat, but in Bahia and Sergipe it’s common to find other vegetables added as well. I read that and thought I’d be adding chunks of carrots, or cabbage like the Portuguese version, but it turns out that in Bahia they pretty much use vegetables as seasoning, making what I would describe as almost a pico de gallo, of tomatoes, onion, peppers and fresh herbs, that then gets used as a marinade and flavoring agent. I’ve also seen recipes that make a similar fresh salsa and serve it on the side of the finished dish, but I’ve lost track now if that was a variation of the Bahian recipe, or showed up when I was researching some other regional variation. I think my next post, on the Sergipean version will feature more chunks of vegetables.

As I’ve come to expect, when I get into translating recipes from their native languages, rather than working from recipes someone has written in English, all kinds of interesting animal parts show up. Nothing new to me this time, but the presence of mocoto (cows feet) and tripe hints at influence from northern Portugal (see Tripas á Modo do Porto).

In researching this recipe I watched several YouTube videos, and the mocoto is always sliced into 1-2″ thick pieces. I haven’t had much luck finding a source for such a product here in the USA. When I was looking for mocoto for the Tripe dish I could only find whole cow feet (not even the veal feet the recipe called for). I didn’t actually do much searching this time, as I still had one in the freezer. I did, however, take it upon my self to cut it into smaller pieces.

Slicing a cows foot with a cordless saw.

Who says power tools aren’t for cooking? It actually worked surprisingly well, once I sliced through the large tendon with a knife, although I had to wash the “sawdust” (bone shavings) off before I used it. It wasn’t even nearly as messy as I expected. A better clamping system would help, but it got the job done. (I used a “wood with nails” blade with the reciprocating saw attachment for my Ryobi One+ multi tool.) There’s still not a lot of eating on a cows foot, but between cutting it up and using the pressure cooker to soften things up faster, I decided there was enough edible bits there to leave it in the pot. Of course, I’m not entirely convinced that beef tendon is really worth eating- (assuming that the weirdly textured bit I ate last night was tendon, since I didn’t recognize it as anything else- I suppose it could just be a bit of cartilage from somewhere else in the foot). It was very soft and gelatinous, yet somehow rubbery at the same time? Like… it feels like it should just dissolve in your mouth, but somehow you keep chewing and chewing and it doesn’t…. (I know, I’m really selling you on this dish aren’t I- the rest of the dish is delicious, really).

The trick of boiling the tripe with lemon really helped cut down the strong flavor I have associated with tripe the few times I’ve cooked it in the past. (Also, it’s a minor ingredient in a complex dish instead of the focus of the dish)

Once again, I made my own salted ribs a few days before hand. For the smoked ribs I wound up using about four smoked pork chops from the grocery store. They have a lot more meat (which I chopped up) than ribs, but plain smoked ribs without either a slathering of barbecue sauce or a strongly flavored rub of some sort aren’t readily available around here, and I no longer own a smoker and didn’t feel like messing around with figuring out how to smoke in my Webber kettle grill. Ultimately though, the exact cuts of meat you use don’t matter, as long as you use a mix of fresh, salted and smoked. My recipes reflects what shows up most frequently in the recipes I looked at, but as a quick glance at the optional ingredients will show, there’s lots of variation.

I finally tracked down some actual paio sausage for this recipe- as part of a feijoada kit* along with carne seca, calabrese sausages, and black beans. I figured the black beans will keep and get used sooner or later, and I either needed the rest of the ingredients for this recipe or will likely need them in the near future for my next recipes. Once I had a brand name to look up I see a number of sites selling paio, although most of them don’t seem to ship outside a limited region. Portuguese chourico is still a pretty good substitute, but the flavor is noticeably different. The kit also contains farofa, which I’m using, but would probably make my own over buying a preservative and MSG laden comercial product on it’s own.

I purchased this tempero Baiano* spice blend from Amazon. You can also find recipes to blend your own online.

Getting this all cooked was a challenge. I totally failed at creating the six serving recipe I was aiming for. I’d say 16 is more accurate. Of course, it seems that in Brazil making a small batch of feijoada just isn’t done- you always make a giant pot of it, so I guess I’m just following the tradition. Anyway, I couldn’t fit everything in my pressure cooker for the second round. I had to scoop out several cups of broth and leave out the sausages and smoked meats, and even then I was probably pushing the limits of how full you are supposed to fill the pressure cooker. Luckily nothing bad happened, but in the future I’d look again at how I divide those ingredients. In the end it wouldn’t all fit in my dutch oven and I had to pull out a stock pot to combine it all. Hopefully I’ll manage to eat it up before it goes bad. I guess I need a bigger pressure cooker!

Feijoada Baiana

Serves: 12+
Prep: ~1:30
Cook: 1:00
Total: ~2:30 plus overnight soaking.

720 g pinto beans
720 g black beans

380 g carne seca, charque or beef jerky
510 g salted pork ribs
200 g salted pork tails

4 slices mocoto
290 g tripe
2 lemons

4 cloves garlic
1 ½ large onions, diced
1 ½ large tomatoes, diced
2 small peppers, diced
⅔ bunch cilantro, minced
½ bunch green onion, sliced
¼ bunch parsley, minced
10 mint leaves, minced
½ cup tomato paste
3 ½ Tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 ¼ teaspoons cumin
1 Tablespoon paprika
½ Tablespoon tempero Baiano seasoning

Olive oil, as needed
1 pigs foot, 
1 pigs ear
1-2 bay leaves

220 g Calabrese sausage, sliced thick
1 paio sausage, sliced 
210 g slab bacon
325 g fresh beef
1 rack smoked pork ribs

Salt, to taste

Vegetable Oil, in place of olive
180 g fresh pork ribs
1 cube tomato bouillon
1 beef bouillon cube
165 g beef belly
1 cube caldo de costela 
500 g duck
Salted pork bones
100 g salted pork belly
180 g smoked pork tenderloin
2 teaspoons saffron
1 ½ Tablespoons lard, in place of olive oil
500 g bone-in chuck steak

Pick over your beans, removing any bad beans or foreign objects. Rinse, drain, and cover with cold water. Leave to soak over night. 

Cover the salted meats with cold water. Place in refrigerator over night, changing the water 2-3 times to remove excess salt. 

Place the mocoto and tripe in a pot. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the rinds to the pot. Mix to coat the meats with lemon juice and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and drain. 

Place the garlic, onion, tomato, pepper and fresh herbs in a mortar or heavy bowl. Pound them with a pestle, the handle of a wooden spoon, or other heavy blunt object. Stir in tomato paste, vinegar, and dry spices. 

Add about half the vegetable mixture to the mocoto and tripe, along with the pigs foot and ear. Massage the marinade into the meat. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the marinated meat. Brown for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bay leaves and enough water to cover, close the pressure cooker, and bring up to high pressure. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Safely release pressure and remove meats, setting aside for later. 

Drain your beans and salted meats and add them to the broth in the pressure cooker, along with sausages, bacon, beef, and smoked ribs, and the remaining vegetable mixture. (If your pressure cooker isn’t big enough the sausages and smoked ribs can be added after the beans are cooked.) Add additional water if needed. Close the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes, then safely release pressure. 

Cut large chunks of meat into serving size pieces and transfer everything to a very large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 mintues or so, until the flavors meld and everything is hot and cooked through. Add salt if needed, and serve with white rice, farofa, sauteed kale or collard and orange slices. 

*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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