By Lindenberg Junior
The most famous Brazilian dish was created by slaves on a sugar plantation from black beans and scraps of dried meat from the master’s table. The accompanying side dish, “farofa” (fried manioc flours) is an Indian touch, while the shredded collard greens, another mandatory side dish, is authentic Portuguese. Traditionally, feijoada is made at home or in various restaurants on Wednesdays and Saturdays. However, it is definitely a ritual on the weekends; especially in coastal cities – like Rio, Salvador and Recife. Before or just after the beach, Brazilians join a long and leisurely feijoada meal (sometimes accompanying a delicious caipirinha).
Personally, in my home I cook and serve the black beans with all the meats together (smoked bacon, dried beef, different types of sausage, smoked pork feet and ears) but in traditional Brazilian restaurants they are prepared separately. As a ritual, just before the meal the “caldinho” is served (the thick dark liquid from the cooked black beans) in small cups. The traditional accompaniments are farofa (buttered fried manioc flour), white rice, shredded collard greens stir-fried in olive oil/garlic and sliced oranges.
In the US, it is not difficult to find the ingredients in most big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston and Miami, where there is a big concentration of Latinos (and Brazilians) and respectively Latinos markets. As an alternative, Polish kielbasa and Italian sausage can be used. For a lighter version, replace the dried beef and pig’s feet & ears for a beef or pork sirloin/brisket. However, without the dried beef and pig’s pieces, the dish is not an authentic feijoada. The secret is to rub all the meat in salt and pepper and stir-fry with bacon just before cooking. The cooking time is long and slow, to allow the smoky flavors of the meat to melt with the beans.
Feijoada is a “fiesta meal extravaganza” The recipe below makes enough for a party of 24:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, pricked in several places
1 pound smoked pork tongue (optional)
1 pound dried beef (carne seca or tasajo)
2 pig’s feet, split lengthwise (4 or 6 peaces)
2 pounds first-cut beef brisket (boneless pork loin)
2 pounds dried black turtle beans
1 pound sliced lean smoked bacon
2 pound smoked pork chops (or smoked pork butt)
1 pound Portuguese linguica (or kielbasa sausage)
1 large onion, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 teaspoon of cumin
4 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper
3 cups long-grain rice, farofa (see the side recipe), stir-fried garlicky collard greens,
6 juicy oranges cut into wedges, various pickled chili peppers (optional)
How to Prepare
1 – Soak the dried beef and the smoked tongue in cold water to cover for at least 5 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse before cooking.
2 – In a large pot (a large will be necessary), blanch the pig’s feet and or the ears in water to cover over medium heat for 25 minutes.
3 – In a large skillet, add the sliced bacon and heat for 5 min (the stir-fried bacon will yield the bacon oil) Then add all the meat, except the pork feet and/or ears, and bring it to over high heat for 10 or 15 min (add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil vegetal if is necessary). After it is stir fried, discard the oil (not the bacon) and set aside all meat.
4 – In a 5-quart stockpot, combine the beans and all the meat (including the pig’s ears and feet), but except the sausage. Add the cumin and the cilantro, enough water to cover the beans and the meat by 2 1/2 inches, and bring to boil. Skimming, and reduce the heat to medium- low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Important: Pay attention the level of liquid, adding more cold water if is necessary (21 or 2 times maximum) to maintain the water level in the first 45 min.
5 – Add the reserved Italian sausage and the linguica or kielbasa. Continue cooking until the beans and all the meats are very tender, about 45 min to 1 hour. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until the onions is soft, about 7 minutes. Remove about 2 cups of beans from the liquid in the pot and add them to the skillet. Mash the beans right in the skillet with a fork, and pour the contents of the skillet back into the pot. Add salt & black pepper to taste, and cook for another 20 minutes.
To serve restaurant style, take a slotted spoon and remove all the meat from the pot. When cool enough to handle, cut the sausages into thick slices. Cut all the other meats into serving portions. Arrange all the meat on a large platter and place the beans with some of its liquid in a large serving bowl. Serve beans with the accompaniments.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of farinha (manioc flour)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley
Salt to taste
In a large skillet, add the olive oil, the garlic, the onion, and the Italian parsley and sauté for 3 min. Add the farinha and stir for more 3 minutes. Keep stirring until the farofa is crunchy and golden, about 5 minutes. Add salt and taste.
Couve a Mineira
* Collard Greens Minas Gerais style
1 pound collard greens, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Wash and drain the collard greens thoroughly. Bunch the leaves and cut into thin strips. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil about 2 or 3 min or until the garlic turn brown. Add the Collard Greens and cook over moderate heat for about 3 minutes. It should be soft but not discolored.
This most famous Brazilian cocktail is made with cachaça, the fiery brandy made from sugar cane. The name of this drink so loved in Brazil (and now also in several countries), comes from the diminutive of the word “caipira” a peasant girl. The caipirinha traditionally contains crushing chunks of tart, green lime and its juice, sugar and the “Brazilian Spirit”. There are no strict proportions, as some prefer it strong, others sweet, and some others more citrus. Caipirinha is extremely popular in Brazil and is taking the road for the international popularity!
1 lime quartered
1-2 tablespoons sugar
2 ounces cachaça
Crushed Ice cubes
How to Prepare:
Mash the lime quarters with the sugar in a cocktail glass with a wooden pestle. Does it well, as it is part important of the caipirinha secret! Do not remove the peaces of crushed lime. Add the cachaça and fill the glass with crushed ice cubes and stir well.
The batida is a cooler traditional drink made with Brazilian tropical fruit juice as passion fruit or coconut and cachaça.
1-4 ounces passion fruit juice
2 ounces cachaca
Sugar to taste
4 ounces crushed ice
1 teaspoon of condensed milk (optional)
How to Prepare:
Mix all the ingredients together in a blend until smooth.
Pour into a cocktail glass.