The ultimate feijoada experience

For 300 years, feijoada has reigned supreme in the Brazilian
kitchen. Invented by slaves, who started mixing their masters’ pork leftovers
to the black beans that were used to feed the animals, it got a touch of
Portuguese and Indian cuisines and today is served all over from the hole-in-the-wall
little joints to the most sophisticated restaurants. And every family seems
to have its own feijoada favorite recipe.

Eng Tie Ang

I may not be a total expert on Brazilian food, but I know my way around
a kitchen fairly well and I am able to make people come back for more and
more when I cook Brazilian dishes — and I know it’s not because my guests
and family are being polite that they do so! One of my specialties is feijoada
completa
, Brazil’s national dish. The actual origin of the dish is
essentially African, but popular belief has it that it evolved from a combination
of sources, from the African slaves, to the Portuguese colonists, to the
indigenous Indians.

The African slaves had the basic bean stew, the Portuguese added the
linguiça (sausage), and the Indians added the farofa
(toasted manioc flour). Regardless of its origin and evolutionary history,
everyone loves my feijoada completa and I enjoy making it.
Of course, I usually make enough to feed an army and I often find long
lost “soldiers” dropping by my house at meal time when word gets
out that I am preparing one.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence! Be that as it may, I’d like to tell
people about some less traditional “feijoadas” from different
regions of Brazil. For the traditionalists amongst you, I will give you
my traditional recipe from my cookbook, Delightful Brazilian Cooking,
after I have given the non-traditional ones. These “feijoadas
are popular in the regions where they come from, but are often strange
sounding to those people who come from other regions of Brazil because
they aren’t truly feijoadas.

It’s like anything else really — people eat whatever grows in their
region and they modify recipes from other areas with their home-grown ingredients.
Basically, these other so-called feijoadas are various regional
dishes prepared with different kinds of beans. To call them “feijoada
could be considered a national sacrilege to many people, but to others
it’s just a name. You decide for yourself whether these are feijoadas
or feijoada impostors. Whatever they are, I hope you try some of
them so that you can experience a little bit of Brazil while living far
from there. Please note that in some of these recipes, I have had to substitute
the actual beans called for with as close an American equivalent as I could
come up with.


Feijoada à Nordestina (Northeastern
feijoada)

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 large yellow onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

5 large tomatoes, chopped

1 red cayenne pepper, chopped

4 cups dried beans (any kind of small brown bean), soaked overnight,
drained

1 lb. salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 lb. Italian sausage

2 lbs. corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. smoked lean ham hocks

1 whole chicken breast, boned, skinned, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. round steak, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

4 bay leaves

2 1/2 quarts water

1 lb. pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes

2 chayote squash, peeled, cores removed, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 lb. green cabbage, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 bunch collard greens, washed, shredded

1/2 lb. fresh string beans, ends removed, cut into 2-inch lengths

1 large potato, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 small sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes

3 ripe plantain bananas, peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, garlic,
and bacon for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add the Italian parsley
, tomatoes, and cayenne and sauté for 1 minute. Add the beans, salt
pork, Italian sausage, corned beef, ham hocks, chicken, round steak, salt,
black pepper, bay leaves, and water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until
the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed
to ensure that the beans are completely covered while cooking. Add the
pumpkin, chayote squash, green cabbage, collard greens, string beans, potato,
sweet potato, and plantain bananas. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the
vegetables are soft. Do not overcook the vegetables. Serve immediately.
Serves 8-10.


Feijoada à Baiana (Bahian feijoada)

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 large yellow onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 red cayenne pepper, chopped

4 cups dried beans (any kind of small brown bean), soaked overnight,
drained

1 lb. salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 lb. smoked Polish sausage, cut into 2-inch cubes

2 lbs. corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. smoked lean ham hocks

1 lb. round steak, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. pork spareribs, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

4 bay leaves

2 1/2 quarts water

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, garlic,
bacon for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add the Italian parsley
and cayenne and sauté for 1 minute. Add the beans, salt pork, smoked
Polish sausage, corned beef, ham hocks, round steak, pork spareribs, salt,
black pepper, bay leaves, and water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until
the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed
to ensure that the beans are completely covered while cooking. Serves
8-10
.


Feijoada à Francesa (Cassoulet or
French Feijoada)

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 large yellow onions, chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

2 whole duck breasts, boned, skinned, cut into 2-inch cubes

4 lbs. lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. smoked polish sausage, cut into 2-inch lengths

4 large tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup white wine

4 cups dried white beans, soaked, overnight, drained

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 1/2 quarts water

4 whole cloves

2 white onions, peeled

2 lbs. carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths

2 chayote squash, peeled, cores removed, cut into 2-inch cubes

4 stalks of celery, cut into 4-inch lengths

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, Italian
parsley, and green onion for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add
the duck, lamb, and smoked Polish sausage and sauté for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, white beans, salt, black pepper,
water, cloves, and onions. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans
and the meat are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed
to ensure that the beans are completely covered while cooking. Add the
carrots, chayote squash, and celery. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the
vegetables are soft. Do not overcook the vegetables. Serve immediately.
Serves 8-10.


Feijoada à Carioca (Cariocan [from Rio
de Janeiro] Feijoada)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 red cayenne pepper, chopped

4 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, drained

1 lb. salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 lbs. Portuguese sausage (linguiça) or Italian sausage

1 lb. smoked Polish sausage, cut into 2-inch lengths

1 lb. smoked lean ham hocks

2 lbs. corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. pork spareribs, cut small pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

4 bay leaves

1 fresh orange, washed very well, cut in half

2 quarts water

6 oranges, peeled, sliced

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, garlic,
and cayenne for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add the beans, salt
pork, Portuguese sausage, smoked Polish sausage, ham hocks, corned beef,
pork spareribs, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, halved-orange and water.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally
and adding water if needed to ensure that the beans are completely covered
while cooking. Serve with sliced oranges, manioc meal with butter and eggs,
white rice, collard greens, vinaigrette sauce, and cachaça
(Brazilian spirits) cocktail. Serves 8-10.


Feijoada à la Recife (Recife Feijoada)

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 large yellow onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, crushed

4 slices bacon, chopped

4 cups dried beans (any kind of small brown bean), soaked overnight,
drained

1 lb. salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 lbs. corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. smoked lean ham hocks

1 lb. round steak, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 1/2 quarts water

1 lb. pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes

8 chayote squash, peeled, cores removed, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 lb. fresh okra, ends removed

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, garlic,
and bacon for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add the beans, salt
pork, corned beef, ham hocks, round steak, salt, black pepper, and water.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally
and adding water if needed to ensure that the beans are completely covered
while cooking. Add the pumpkin, chayote squash, and okra. Simmer for 15
minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Do not overcook the vegetables.
Serve immediately. Serves 8-10.


Feijoada completa

Brazilian black beans

from the book Delightful Brazilian Cooking

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

4 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, drained

1 lb. salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 lbs. Portuguese sausage (linguiça) or Italian sausage

 

1 lb. smoked lean ham hocks

2 lbs. corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

4 bay leaves

1 fresh orange, washed very well, cut in half

2 quarts water

6 oranges, peeled, sliced

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion and
garlic for 1 minute or until light golden brown. Add the beans, salt pork,
Portuguese sausage, ham hocks, corned beef, salt, black pepper, bay leaves,
halved-orange and water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans
are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed. Serve with
sliced oranges, manioc meal with butter and eggs, Brazilian rice, collard
greens, vinaigrette sauce, and cachaça (Brazilian spirits)
cocktail. Serves 8-10.


Vinaigrette sauce (molho de vinagrete)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

4 large fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 fresh red cayenne peppers, finely chopped (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well and serve either
at room temperature or cold. Serve over meat and beans. Makes 3 cups.


Collard greens (couve refogada)

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bunches collard greens, washed, shredded

1 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the garlic until
light golden brown. Add the collard greens and salt. Stir-fry over medium-high
heat for 3 minutes or until greens are tender; do not overcook. Serves
4-6.


Brazilian rice (arroz brasileiro)

4 tablespoons canola oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 cups white long grain rice, washed, drained

4 cups boiling water

1 bay leaf

2 medium tomatoes, chopped (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a 4 quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and stir-fry the
onion and garlic until golden. Pour in the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the water, bay leaf, tomatoes and salt. Return to a boil and continue
stirring until almost all the water is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Cover
the pot and reduce the temperature. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the
rice is cooked. Serves 4-6.


Manioc meal with butter and egg

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

2 cups manioc flour

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and sauté the onion until
golden brown. Add the eggs and scramble until firm and separated in small
pieces. Add the manioc meal, parsley, salt and pepper, stirring well until
lightly browned. Serve with any bean dish. Serves 6-8.


Cachaça (Brazilian spirits) cocktail

2 tablespoons sugar

2 fresh limes, finely grated and squeezed

1 cup cachaça or white rum

1 cup crushed ice

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, grated lime peel and lime juice.
Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the cachaça. Pour the cocktail
mixture into small glasses filled with ice. Serves 4.


If you are interested in having a copy
of Delightful Brazilian Cooking, autographed and with a dedication,
please contact Ambrosia Publication at PO Box 30818, Seattle, WA 98103
or phone or fax your order to (206) 789-3693. If you order now, you will
receive two copies of the book for the price of one, $14.95, plus $5.00
shipping and handling.

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