Sopa de Beterraba Russa
This soup is so delicious; it has a hearty root flavor and stunning color. Although originally a Russian dish, it has been warmly incorporated by cuisines all over the world. This recipe is very easy to make. It is a wonderful vegetarian soup and also delicious in its vegan approach. Like many soups, it is excellent the next day.
I first had this soup many years ago at the Intercontinental Hotel in Rio. I wonder if the Hotel is still there. Anyway, I fell in love with beets and started trying to replicate this wonderful soup.
Here is a Brazilian version.
- 2 chopped shallots
- 2 chopped garlic gloves
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 2 chopped celery stalks
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 1 large apple skinned and chopped
- 2 raw beets
- 2 tablespoons butter*
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream**
- Cook beets with skin on in boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside to cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and cut into pieces.
- Heat oil and butter in a large sauce pan and add shallots, garlic, bell pepper, celery, apples and tomatoes. Let it cook until veggies begin to soften. Add beets and vegetable stock… bring to a boil.
- Turn heat to low and smooth soup using an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste, agave nectar, and fresh thyme. Cover and let it simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, scoop soup into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with parsley.
*For a vegan approach substitute butter for vegan butter
** Substitute sour cream for coconut cream. It is super delicious this way too!
Serving tip: I like to serve with sourdough bread or garlic toast
Curry is not a typical Brazilian spice and it’s not commonly used; however, shrimp cooked in coconut sauce and seasoned with curry is very popular in the Brazilian kitchen. Brazilian shrimp curry is a fusion of Asian and Brazilian flavors and cooking styles. Some Brazilian shrimp curry recipes actually have no curry. They will use a blend of cumin, turmeric and coriander. I have a bag of a wonderful curry my youngest son brought me as a gift from his travels to Asia and I have been using this wonderful gift in my cooking whenever it’s called for. For this recipe, I used wild caught Argentinian shrimp, which has a mild and sweet flavor. It is my favorite. Brazilian curry can be served as a soup, but it is commonly served over white rice and a side of sautéed spinach on butter.
- 2 lb. raw shrimp
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- olive oil
- 2 limes
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 5 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
- 2 cups butternut cut into small cubes
- 1 large potato cut into small cubes
- 2 large carrots thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
- 1 finely chopped piri piri pepper with the seeds removed. (piri piri is above average in heat and kind of hard to find, so you can use a chilli pepper)
- 1 cup frozen petit peas
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. ketchup
- 1 tbsp. curry
- bunch fresh basil chopped or sautéed spinach
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Cook shrimp in boiling water for 5 minutes until nice and pink. Drain. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, remove shell and devein. Then, squeeze lime juice, sprinkle salt/pepper and drizzle olive oil. Mix it all together for even flavor. Set aside.
- Put the sauté shallots, garlic, and tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil, in a big pot. When the tomatoes start to burst add carrots, butternut, potatoes and peppers. Stir to coat all vegetables and add vegetable broth. Cover and let it cook until carrots, butternut and potato are softer.
- Add tomato paste and ketchup. Stir. Then, add coconut milk, curry and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, letting it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring ocasionaly until the sauce has thickened a little. This happens when the cooked potato and butternut release their starch.
- Wash ice off the peas and add them to the curry.
- Add shrimp and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish the shrimp with basil or add sauteed spinach on butter. Why not add both?
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.
- 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
- Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
- Place beans, water salt bay leaves, onion powder, garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds, approximately 15 min. *
- 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.
- Drizzle some olive oil in a crock pot and transfer the beans. Cover, turn heat to medium and let it slowly incorporate flavor.
- 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.
- 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
- Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.
Bobo de Camarão
This is a traditional Brazilian cuisine known as “Bobo de Camarão.” It has African roots and it is mainly typical of the State of Bahia where a large number of African slaves concentrated during colonial times but it is largely found all over the nation ,everyone has a version of this dish. It is basically a mash of yucca roots, coconut milk and shrimp. It can be served over white rice or just by itself like a savory soup. Here is my version, enjoy!
- 2 pounds raw, peeled shrimp
- 1 lime
- 2 pounds yucca root
- 1/2 large onion finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable or fish broth
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 4 ripped Roma tomatoes chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large red pepper finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- Bunch of chopped cilantro, parsley or basil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- Place raw shrimp in a bowl with juice of 1 lime, set aside.
- Peel yucca root, chop in cubes and place them in a pot. Add broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let them cook until very tender. Remove from heat and mash them. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a big pot (an iron pot would be just perfect). Saute onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic until soft. Add shrimp, when both sides turn pink add coconut milk, tomato paste and mashed yucca. Stir with a wood spoon.
- Add salt to taste, crushed red pepper and let it simmer over a medium heat until bubbly.
- Remove from heat and garnish with herbs.
Ratatouille is originally a French dish from the Provence region. It is a versatile dish, you can eat it as a stew, a baked casserole or soup. It can also be used as a filling for crepes and omelets. It can be served as a side dish or main course. The Brazilian way is served as a main dish, stewed over rice. Simply delicious! Serves 4.
- 1 large eggplant cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 zucchini cut into 2 inch cubes
- 4 Roma tomatoes diced
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves minced*
- 1/2 yellow onion finely chopped*
- 1 red bell pepper
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp dried herbs the Provence
- fresh parsley or fresh basil chopped
- shredded Asiago cheese (optional)
“* If you can’t have onions or garlic, omit those and use 2 celery stalks finely sliced and a drizzle of truffle oil.
- Heat olive oil in a sauce pan, add onions, tomatoes and red peppers, salt and pepper and saute until onions are cooked and tomatoes bursting. Add garlic, egg-plant and zucchini. Then add vegetable broth or water, tomato paste and herbs.
- Cover and let it cook for 10 minutes or until egg-plant is soft. Let it stand covered for 5 minutes.
- Place it in a serving bowl. Sprinkle Asiago cheese, drizzle olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley or basil.
- Serve over your favorite steamed rice, white or whole wheat. It is also great over quinoa!