Avoid the embarrassment of serving unpopular dishes to your friends and loved ones at your next dinner party. Knowing how to make feijoada (fey-zhoo-ah-dah) will help you feed everyone well and leave your guests in awe.
rosebudatlanta.com gathered the following recipe, tips, and suggestions on making one of the most iconic Brazilian dishes, feijoada.
What is Feijoada?
Before cooking a single bean, it is crucial that you know the history packed into the national dish of Brazil. While several types of salted and smoked pork and beef are used in this black bean stew, the name actually comes from the Portuguese word for beans (feijao). The current incarnation of feijoada originated during the time Portugal was colonizing Brazil. This dish came about in Portugal, and variations of it can be found in countries that were later settled by Portuguese explorers.
Brazilians typically eat feijoada on Wednesdays and Saturdays (this is when restaurants traditionally offer it on the menu), and families prepare it for social gatherings. Nowadays, all social and economic classes eat feijoada since it is a low-cost dish. In some parts of Brazil, feijoada is only prepared during the winter months.
The long-believed folklore is that feijoada was created by enslaved people on Brazil’s sugar cane plantations who used the scraps of meat tossed aside by their masters (pig’s ears, feet, and tails) and cooked them with black beans, which were native to Brazil and the staple of the enslaved people’s diets. However, recent studies are beginning to unveil that the enslaved people at the time were likely the first to make feijoada but were, in fact, making it for their masters.
How To Make Feijoada
Preparing feijoada is an act of love that requires time and TLC to make. A good recipe is a useful and flexible guide for recreating feijoada in your home. Consider the following:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped red, yellow, or white onions
- 1/4 cup chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 whole bay leaves
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound choriço sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick (see tip below)
- 1 pound “carne seca” or other salted or cured beef cut, soaked overnight, and cubed
- 1 pound baby back spareribs, cut into individual ribs or one tenderloin cubed
- 1 pound of black beans
- 10 cups water
- 4 cups collard or kale greens, sautéed in olive oil
- 4 cups cooked white rice
- Hot sauce
Tip: Choriço is a dry sausage heavily spiced with garlic and paprika, surprisingly similar to Spanish chorizo. If you cannot find it, it can be substituted with fresh chorizo, Mexican chorizo, or a domestic smoked hot sausage.
Feijoada Cooking Directions
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the following in this order:
- When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions, shallots, and garlic
- Crush the bay leaves and add to the pan
- Season with pepper (do not add the salt yet)
- Sauté for 5 minutes
- Add the choriço sausage (or its substitute)
- Cook for an additional 4 minutes
- Add the cubed beef, ribs, beans, and water
- Bring the water to a boil, then turn to medium-low and simmer until the beans are tender. This will take about 2-1/2 hours
- Add hot water when necessary to keep the beans covered
- Use the back of a ladle to mash 1/4 of the beans
- Reseason your feijoada with salt and pepper
Tip: Mashing 1/4 of the beans releases starch, making the dish thicker, richer, and smooth.
Note: Salt is only added when the beans are fully cooked. When salt is added at the beginning of the recipe, it hardens the bean shells, requiring considerably more time to thoroughly cook.
How To Make Farofa
Farofa is a traditional Brazilian topping, garnish, or side dish made with toasted yuca flour/cassava flour, or how it is referred to in Portuguese: “farinha de mandioca.”
Ingredients for 2-½ cups
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-1/2 cups yuca, cassava, or manioc (mandioca) flour
Farofa Cooking Directions
In a large sauté pan, over medium heat:
- Melt the butter
- Add the flour
- Season with salt
- Sauté until golden (about 3 to 5 minutes)
- Remove from heat.
Plating Your Feijoada
Consider the following when serving feijoada:
- Spoon some greens and rice onto your serving plate(s)
- Spoon a helping of Feijoada over the rice
- Shake some hot sauce over the plate
- Garnish with orange slices and farofa
Note: Today, there are several variations of this famous black bean stew, which go from the complete “original” recipe, including pig’s ears, tails, and feet, to the recipes that use the finest pork and beef cuts and the most expensive ingredients.
Feijoada – Brazil’s National Dish
In this article, you discovered information about Brazil’s most cherished dish and an easy-to-follow recipe to help you make the perfect feijoada.
A well-prepared feijoada dish will have your guests and family raving about your cooking skills and ability to combine flavor with texture to create an incredible, mouth-watering dish.
Relying on typical American dishes to satisfy everyone can leave your invited guests disappointed and wanting more impactful flavors in their food.