Feijoada: Witches Brew or Black Bean Stew

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For our Halloween special edition, we made eye balls with pickled red pepper, sour cream and olives. Totally optional!

“Brazilian Black Bean Stew” known in Portuguese as “feijoada” is a hearty combination of several different pieces of  beef and pork meat cooked with black beans. It’s usually served with white rice, finely shredded and sauteed collard greens , orange slices and garnished with tomato vinaigrette.

There are different views about the origin of this dish. The popular view is that this was a creation of slaves that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese during colonial times. The popular view believes that, once the good parts of the meat were served to the slave owners, the pieces thrown away like the ribs and pigs feet would be used by the slaves and cooked in with the beans in a big iron pot.

However, some historians and food connoisseurs believe that feijoada is a variation of other European dishes that combine beans and meat like the cassoulet, which is a combination of white beans and meat substituting the white beans for black beans originated of South America. Others believe it was created in the XIX Century.

There has been a lot of changes to the classic recipe for feijoada and lighter versions are very popular without the pigs feet and other unwanted parts. In my recipe, I only use short ribs, chicken sausage and lean ready cooked bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of dry black beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6 pieces of short ribs
  • 1 package of 4 smoked chicken sausages cut into thick slices
  • 6 slices smoked ready bacon cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
  2. Place beans, water salt bay leaves, onion powder, garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds, approximately 15 min. *
  3. Turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat and let the pressure built cook for  for 30 min. Don’t open the pressure cooker until all steam is completely out.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in a crock pot and transfer the beans. Cover, turn heat to medium and let it slowly incorporate flavor.
  5. Meanwhile, drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Brown the balsamic-marinated short ribs and chicken slices. Cover and let them cook until balsamic becomes a glaze.
  6. Add meat and bacon to the crock pot. Turn heat to high and let it cook until beans are bubbly. If beans are too thick, add a cup of hot water.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can use a crock pot. Start the cooking process the night before. Place beans, water, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion powder and bay leaves in crock pot at medium heat and let it cook overnight. In the morning, add hot water if necessary and turn heat to high; let it slow cook until beans are tender. Then proceed to cook meat and follow same steps.

For the vinaigrette you will need:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare:

  1.  Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.

 

 

 

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