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Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

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I had been fidgety about the unseasonably warm weather around here, and then winter went and showed up all at once. Temperatures hovering around -32 with the windchill is the perfect reason to have a pot of something or other simmering on the stove, and I had been meaning to make a pot of feijoada – a thick Brazilian black bean stew, simmered with miscellaneous cuts of pork (and sometimes beef). The beauty of it is that dried beans take a few hours to soak and simmer, just like tough, flavourful cuts of meat, like pork shoulder and ham hocks. If you’ve never worked with smoked pork hocks before – it’s the ankle bit – this is a perfect reason to; you toss it in the pot and it does its thing, flavouring the beans with smoky meatiness, and then the chunks of tender meat fall off when you pull the bone and leathery skin out of the pot. Once you’ve cooked one, you’ll notice all kinds of delicious applications come up.

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The essence of feijoada, a traditional black bean stew, is to use whatever meaty bits you have around – it’s most often made with a combination of fresh and cured meats, and makes use of the most flavourful, inexpensive cuts, like smoked pork hocks and fresh pork shoulder. This is essentially how I made mine, but feel free to use whatever cuts of meat you like – pork ribs, bacon, fresh or cured sausages – and add some chiles or other spices to suit your taste – certain cured meats and sausages will also add some kick.

feijoada-1
feijoada-1

Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

Recipe link

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December 8, 2016

Ingredients

2 cups dried black beans

salt and pepper, to taste

a few bay leaves

olive or vegetable oil, for cooking

a chunk (about 1 lb) pork shoulder

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 smoked pork hock

2 fresh chorizo sausages

2 small tomatoes (or a handful of cherry tomatoes - optional)

a squeeze of lime juice

fresh cilantro (optional)

steamed rice and orange wedges, for serving

Directions

1Put the beans into a small pot and add enough water to cover by a couple inches. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them sit while you get the meat started. Add a garlic clove and a couple bay leaves to the pot.

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3Set a medium pot (I like a heavy enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven) over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and brown any long-simmering meat you have, like pork shoulder or ribs. I even browned my fresh sausages at this point. Transfer them to a plate (slice the sausages into chunks) and add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot; cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

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5At this point, if you want to transfer everything to the bowl of a slow cooker, do it, draining the beans and adding them as well, along with just enough water (or stock) to cover. Add a couple more bay leaves, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Otherwise return the meat to the pot, drain and add the beans, add the tomatoes and enough water (or stock) to barely cover everything, and cook over low heat for about 3 hours, until all the meat is very tender and the sauce has thickened. (Check often to ensure the liquid isn’t cooking off.) Add a squeeze of lime and season with salt and pepper, if it needs it - this will depend on the salted and cured meats that are already in there.

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7If you like, let the stew cool so that you can pull out any bones and other bits you don’t want in there - the flavour will also improve if it’s refrigerated overnight. Serve topped with fresh cilantro (if you like), on steamed rice (if you like), with orange wedges. Serves 6 or more.

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4 comments on “Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

  1. Rhonda
    December 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I made this today…a cold and somewhat snowy day called for a rich, warm stew. Served it over creamy polenta…wow, delish! Definite make again! Thank you Julie!!

    • Julie
      December 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      Ooh, that sounds amazing! So glad you liked it!

  2. Shanda
    December 11, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    How much does this make ? Thinking of X-mas gifts

    • Julie
      December 14, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Ooh good idea! It made about 3L?

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