Brazil National Dish: Feijoada Recipe and Restaurants
divulgação Feijoada Completa at São Paulo's Bolinha Restaurant
According to legend, and some historians, feijoada was concocted by Brazilian slaves who transformed scraps from the Big House into a slave-quarter delicacy. Citing sundry scholarly sources, the owners of Bolinha, a São Paulo restaurant nationally famous for its feijoada, argue that the black bean stew is instead a Brazilian variation of European fare like the Spanish “cassoulet” and the Portuguese “caldeirada.” Whatever its origin, feijoada stands as an important symbol of Brazilian heritage.
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (approximately)
Suggested beverages: lime “batida” or beer
800 grams of black beans
250 grams of dried beef (“carne seca”)
250 grams of salted pork ribs
1 pork trotter
1 pork tail (or ear)
100 grams of smoked loin of pork
80 grams of smoked bacon
2 large pork sausages (“paio”)
1 Portuguese sausage
3 cloves of garlic
1 soup spoon of olive oil
2 bay leaves
The night before, clean the port trotter and tail and soak them in cold water together with the already cleaned pork ribs. In a separate bowl, soak the dried beef cut into pieces. Change the water in each bowl at least four times.
Put the salted meats on the stove in a pan with plenty of water. Boil for 10 minutes, drain off the water, pour in clean water and cook. Use the same procedure for the dried beef, putting it to cook in a separate pan. When the meats are tender, but not shredded, drain off the water and cut the pork ribs into pieces. Set aside.
Cut the “paio” and Portuguese sausage into thick slices, the smoked bacon into small cubes, and the smoked pork into medium-sized cubes.
Place the bans in a large pan with a thick bottom. Add water, the bay leaves, and the orange cut in half, with the inner peel but without the outer peel. After cooking for 45 minutes, add the salted and smoked meats, the dried beef, sausage and “paio.” Leave to cook for 20 more minutes.
Remove two soup ladles of beans from the pan. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Sauté them, without letting the brown, in a skillet in the olive oil. Add the bean paste to the skillet and cook for two minutes. Return the entire mixture to the large pan, mix and taste for salt. Adjust the temperature as necessary and leave everything to cook 20 minutes more or until well cooked. Serve with white rice, sautéed kale, manioc meal. Accompanied by fresh orange slices.
The meats can vary according to individual taste. It is very important that the oily build-up on the surface be skimmed off periodically while cooking.
In São Paulo, restaurants typically serve feijoada on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In Rio de Janeiro, it appears on the menu on Fridays and Saturdays. Some establishments specialize in feijoada seven-days a week. Check your local listings for details. Here are a few eateries around Brazil that known for their feijoadas. All of the tours mentioned below are run by WHL Travel, a company that shares our concern with sustainable and responsible tourism. If you have a favorite that isn’t here, please let us know.
* Amazon Beer – A leading pub with a good feijoada. Boulevard Castilho França, Estação das Docas, Galpão 1, Campina. Telephone: 3212-5401.
* Bolinha – São Paulo’s most traditional feijoada. Served at your table. Choose between the “complete” and “light” versions. Serving feijoada since 1952 and daily since 1976. Read about Bolinha’s kosher feijoada. Av. Cidade Jardim, 53, Jardim Europa. Tel: 3061-2010.
* Feijoada da Lana - During lunch, the fixed-price feijoada buffet is the only thing on the menu. Rua Aspicueleta 421, Vila Madalena. Tel: 3814-9191.
Book About Brazilian Food
Eat Smart in Brazil by Joan and David Peterson (Ginkgo Press) – a succinct but informative overview of the country’s culinary culture. Click here to read an excerpt from this book.