Feijoada

Pronounced: fesh-wada

November 2008 - If you read my travelogues you'll know that I first encountered feijoada at a small Spanish restaurant in the Bastille area of Paris. We ordered it hoping it was fajitas - we were wrong. But what a great discovery. This hearty, meaty black bean stew is a great supper.

The Brazilian government says: "feijoada", a dish of black beans and pork, traditionally served with rice, kale and manioc flour, and accompanied by a "caipirinha" - a traditional cocktail made of sugar cane liquor, lime and sugar.

The best recipe I found was on Tom Van Vleck's website (which has other fun stuff - check out his home page too).

Over the years I've made this many times and my guests have always enjoyed it.

A. black beans 1 pound  

Either soak overnight or boil 2 minutes and soak an hour in enough water to cover the beans with 2 in of water. Use plenty of water else it dries out later.

B. salt pork 1/4 pound diced
yellow onion 1 large coarsely chopped
garlic 3 large cloves minced or pressed

In a 3.5 quart pot - or larger - brown the salt pork over medium high heat.
When the salt pork begins to brown add the onion and cook until it begins to brown.
Then and the garlic and cook for one minute.

C. bay leaves 2 leaves  
cumin, ground 1 teaspoon  
parsley, fresh 2 teaspoons chopped
ham hock, smoked 1 hock ask your butcher to cut it into thirds
  pork chop, smoked 4 chops  
smoked meats 2 pounds You can use a variety of meats. Uncooked corned beef, salt beef,  smoked ribs, Canadian bacon. Even pigs ears, tails, beef tongue.

Add to the beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 2 hours, uncovered.

D. spicy sausages 4 links  
sweet sausages 4 links  
ham, smoked 1/2 pound optional. Cut into 1-inch chunks.

After the pot has been simmering for 90 minutes, begin this step.

Brown the sausages in a skillet. Cut the sausages into good sized pieces and return them to the pan to brown on the ends.

Add all meats to the beans.

Take out the ham hocks and let them cool for a few minutes. Using a fork and knife, remove and discard the skin. Break up the meat into big chunks and return to the pot. Discard the bones.

Dip out one cup of the beans and smash them up with a fork. Return them to the pot.

Simmer for one more hour. During this time you will need to stir the pot every 10 minutes to keep the stew from burning on the bottom.

Keep simmering until the beans are done. You can cook this longer than specified without a problem. Add water whenever needed.

E. oranges 3 cut in eighths

Serve it as a bowl of bean stew or put a ladle full in the middle of some brown rice. Serve with orange wedges.

Tom Van Vleck says: I used to cook a single recipe in a 3.5 quart pot and it barely fit. Now I use a big stainless restaurant pot and make a double or triple recipe. This stuff freezes beautifully and is even better after reheating. (When I was a bachelor I used to keep a block of it in the freezer, and just chip off a hunk and eat it with minute rice.)