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Feijoada : the Brazilian national dish

Feijoada is, without a doubt, the Brazilian equivalent of what Americans would call “soul food”. It’s the Brazilian national dish and has become so popular that most restaurants have special days when the dish is served at lunch.

What is feijoada?

Feijoada is such a heavy dish that the only recommended activity after eating is napping. Also, it’s recommended to wash it down with “caipirinha”. Feijoada is often made with the noble parts of the pig which reduces the fat content to some extent. Rice, being a staple of the Brazilian dish, is the logical side dish with goes with feijoada. Also, collard greens and slices of oranges are added to the presentation.

So, feijoada is a hearty stew of beans and pork such as ears, tails, feet, bacon, smoked ribs and sausage. It’s ideally prepared in a clay pot over a slow fire.

How to make feijoada

If you want to try to make it at home, here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 lb smoked ham
  • 1 of each: pork ear, foot and tail
  • 1 lb Mexican “chorizo”
  • ½ lb lean bacon
  • ½ lb smoked pork ribs
  • 3 slices smoked bacon
  • ½ lb lean pork meat
  • ½ lb lean beef meat
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 table spoon vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Soak the beans over night. The next morning cook the beans for 4-5 hours over slow fire. In a deep pan put the ham, chorizo, rib and bacon, add plenty of water and bring to boil. Change the water and bring to boil again. Repeat at least 3 times in order to tenderize the meat and remove some of the fat. In a large frying pan sauté the onion and 1 garlic clove with the vegetable oil. After 3-4 minutes, toss in the cut lean pork and beef meat. Sauté again for 3-4 minutes. Mash 5-10 tablespoons of the boiled beans and put it in the large pot (where you boiled the fatty cuts). Doing that will thicken the sauce. In a different pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 3 garlic cloves and the vinegar. You can also add a teaspoon of red hot pepper. Stir and sauté for 3 minutes than add it to the content of the first frying pan (confused by now already?). Let it simmer for 15 min then add the content to the beans along with the content of the large pot and boil for another 1-2 hours. Serve over rice. The recipe serves 10-15.