Monday, May 12, 2014

Feijoada, Viva Brasil!

First off, let me say one thing: I absolutely love Latin American culture. I think Spanish and Portuguese are the sexiest languages in the world, which is why I studied the language! During my internship in USA, my boss Johanna in the kitchen department was from Peru, and she made me so interested in their culture from language, dance, music and most important: FOOD! She taught me many concepts of essential flavors that make Latin and South America as hot and spicy as it sounds! One of those dishes is this stew originally from Brazil: Feijoada. (pronounced fay-ZHWA-dah)

Feijoada - A Brazilian Stew

The name of dish comes from the Portuguese word, feijão, meaning beans. It is typically cooked in Portugal and other Portuguese colonies such as Angola, Macau, and Brazil! It is essentially a dish that contains the basic ingredients of black, white or red kidney beans with fresh pork and beef. This dish essentially has a mixture of salted, smoked, and fresh meats, but you can use almost any parts of meat available at your resources. Other vegetables you add here are tomatoes, carrots or cabbage. Think of this dish as a cross between minestrone soup and our Filipino dish, mechado. It's an addicting stew because of the mixture of ingredients and flavors it contains.

Rich and hearty, best served hot!

Normally this dish takes about 5 hours to cook due to the beans and meat with bones, but if you have a pressure cooker at hand, you can cut the cooking time to about 3 1/2 hours instead. Since not all ingredients are available at hand in Manila, the ingredients listed are made to suit what's available in the supermarket. But note: if you want this dish to be really Brazilian, you must use black or red kidney beans. The Portuguese version uses white beans.

Feijoada was known as a poor mans dish since it was originally composed of several bits of meat such as ears and tripes. But there is nothing poor about this super rich and flavorful dish! This dish is rich, hearty, salty, spicy, and best served piping hot with rice and some sauteed vegetables. If you are the type of person that enjoys rice meals, give this one a try. Add some Brazilian and Latino culture to spice up your life!

Feijoada, Brazilian Black Bean Stew Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours or 3 1/2 hours if you have a pressure cooker
Yield: Serves 10 to 12.
Black beans are a must in this recipe if you want it to be authentically Brazilian. A Portuguese version uses white beans, however.


  • 500g dry black beans
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil or bacon fat
  • 500g pork cubes
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 500g carne seca or corned beef (try Delimondo or your favorite spicy corned beef), cut into chunks
  • 250g fresh sausages, such as chorizo or Italian sausage
  • 500g smoked sausage, such as linguica or kielbasa
  • 500g smoked ham hock or beef shanks, coated in applewood rub spice
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 14.5 ounce can (411 grams) of crushed tomatoes
  • Water
  • Salt & Pepper

The ingredients

The beef shanks, with applewood rub spice

Smoked and spicy sausages!


1. Pour boiling water over the black beans and let them sit while you prepare the rest of the stew.

Beans in hot water

2. Heat the olive oil or bacon fat in a large pot for pressure cooking over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder.

Pork shoulders browned

3. When it has browned, remove the meat from the pot, set aside and add the onions to the pot. Brown them, stirring occasionally, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions and add the garlic. Stir well and sauté 2 more minutes.

Sauteed onion and garlic

4. Add back the pork shoulder, and the other meats and add enough water to cover. Add the bay leaves, cover and bring to a simmer. Drain the black beans from their soaking liquid and add them to the stew. Simmer gently, covered, until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half. NOTE: if you are using pressure cooker, DO NOT open the pot immediately. Put it in running cold water before opening it! If not, it will explode on your face (based on experience from being a culinary student, hahaha!)

Add back the meats

Adding in the beef shanks

Add the water!

5. Add the tomatoes, stir well and taste for salt, adding if it's needed. Simmer this, covered again, until the meat begins to fall off the ham hock or beef shank, which will probably take 2 hours. AGAIN: If you are using pressure cooker, run it under cold water first and then carefully open the pressure cooker pot.

Simmer and stir

5. Serve with piping hot white rice, hot sauce and some sauteed vegetables.

Fresh from the pot ready to serve!

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