Brazilian Feijoada: A rich and meaty bean stew recipe that might be the national dish of Brazil. It’s a delicious slow-cooked, dish that is truly amazing and has to be tasted to fully appreciate its delicacy.
Bean selection is important in a dish such as Feijoada. Fresh and dried are not synonymous. Some beans might be a year old, others five or six. This radically affects cooking times and the overall flavor of the dish. Most packaged beans do not have a harvested date. When buying beans, I suggest a retailer that has a good turnover of bean products, while also offering heirloom varieties, that are unique and more traditional to regional dishes, that sell very quickly, such as Rancho Gordo, out of Napa, California. They also have an online store for purchasing.
Rinse beans under cold water, to remove any dirt or dust, place into a container and let soak for at least 8 – 12 hours.
Feijoada | Meat Stock Directions:
Creating a rich and decadent stock is key to this dish’s deep character and backbone. Start by placing a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil and sauté the carrots, onions, and celery. Sprinkle with salt to help release any liquid from the vegetables and stir frequently, until they are dark brown and completely caramelized about 12 – 14 minutes.
Add the ham hock, trotter, bones, cubed meat, bacon chunks, garlic, and bay leaves and deglaze the pot with beer.
Stir to remove any food from the bottom of the pot, add the soy sauce and top with about 1 1/2 gallons of water. Turn heat to low and slowly bring the stock to a boil. Then, adjust the heat to create a low simmer and let the stock’s flavors infuse for the next 3 – 4 hours. Turn off the heat and strain the stock through a colander into another pot or container. Once the stock is strained, transfer the meat and vegetables to a large bowl and allow to cool.
When it’s cool enough to handle, pick out all the meat and place it into another bowl; discard all the bones, vegetables, and any other inedible parts. Refrigerate the meat once it is completely cool. Clean the pot to stew the beans. This step may be done a day or two in advance.
Feijoada | Bean Stew Directions:
Add the soaked and rinsed beans to a large pot and top with the sliced sausages, trotter, garlic, bay leaves, and kombu (if using). Add enough meat stock to fully cover the legumes by 2 – 3 inches. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Let the beans cook low and slow for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. They are done when they are tender but still hold their shape. Add more meat stock if needed.
As the beans are cooking, add the oil to a large skillet or sauté pan placed over medium heat and sauté the onion for 12 – 14 minutes, until caramelized and just starting to turn golden brown. Add the garlic and bay leaves, cooking for another few minutes. Add the tomato and hot sauce and season with salt, cooking for 6 – 7 minutes more. The onion-tomato mixture should be thick, without sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining meat stock and reduce until the sauce has a gravy-like consistency. Stir the onion-tomato sauce into the cooked beans, along with the reserved meat. Let the Feijoada cook for 10 minutes, then taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Check for salt and a tiny touch of heat from the hot sauce, to round out all the flavors.
The Feijoada can be kept warm and served, but if time allows, cool it and refrigerate it overnight to allow all the flavors to meld together.
For the farofa, lightly toast the flour in a dry pan over medium heat for 5 minutes until nutty and slightly darker in color. Place into a bowl. Use a spoon to sprinkle over the different side dishes.
How To Serve Brazilian Feijoada:
To complete this Brazilian dish, it is served with a Garlic Rice, Sautéed Greens, the toasted farofa and slices of peeled oranges.