Considered the national dish of Brazil and becoming popular worldwide, Feijoada is a comforting, warm, intense and flavourful black bean and pork stew. It is served with rice, sautéed collard greens or kale, orange slices and farofa (toasted cassava flour).
The main ingredients are black beans, salted cured pork cuts like ears, trotters, and tail, and smoked cuts like ribs, loin, sausages and bacon.Living in Brazil, it is common to find those ingredients in supermarkets. But if you live in the UK, it is possible to find some of them in Brazilian and Portuguese shops. Polish products like sausages and smoked pork can be a good substitute.
Sausages are an important item to pay attention to. If you are looking for an authentic Brazilian feijoada, using Spanish chorizo is not a good idea. It has strong paprika and chilli taste, and it could cover the flavours of other ingredients. Rather, I recommend looking in Brazilian shops for calabresa and paio sausage.
Bay leaves are important to create one more layer of flavour, giving a hint of freshness to the stew.Although there are plenty of methods to cook feijoada in a fast way, my experience tells me that time is the most important ingredient. Slow cooking the ingredients step-by-step is required. My grandmother's Feijoada recipe starts 2 days in advance, with plenty of time to desalt cured meats and cook them slowly.
1/2 kg salted cured pork cuts trotter, tail, ears
400 g smoked pork ribs
200 g smoked bacon
1 paio sausage 2cm thick sliced
1 calabresa sausage 2cm thick sliced
500 g black beans
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions chopped
4 cloves os garlic chopped
10 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
4 bay leaves
After buying the right ingredients, it's time to remove the excess of salt from the cured cuts. You do that giving them a good wash and placing them in a bowl where you will soak the meat, and change the water from time to time.
Slow cook the ingredientes in steps. It starts with the desalted cuts, placed in a big pressure cooker or sauce pan. Give them a fast sautée, then add 2 cups of water and cook until they soften, to release the collagen and thicken the mixture.
Fry the smoked bacon and ribs with onion, garlic and bay leaves. Add the cured meat prepared before, the beans and the water, and let it cook slowly and gently for about 2 or 3 hours, stirring it occasionally.
After the beans are cooked, add the sliced sausages and, if the sauce seems too thick, add more water. Let it simmer until the sausages and meats tenderise and starts break apart.
Serve it with rice, sautéed collard greens (thinly sliced, sautéed with olive oil and garlic), sliced oranges and farofa.