Feijoada – Brazilian Celebration Meal! Cultural Connections

This month for Cultural Connections I am making Feijoada, it is the national dish of Brazil. This hearty meal is traditionally served on Saturday and is a celebration meal served with family and friends. I can see why, it makes a lot! I originally posted this on my blog The Tiny Skillet and thought it would be perfect to bring it back for this time of year. You can try it with a Coquito a Puerto Rican eggnog and have a festive time!
All I want to say is, I don’t know what made me research this and make it, but I am glad I did! I am definitely keeping this recipe in with our regulars.
It was said that it originated in the sixteenth century from slaves, where the dish was first made using all parts of the pig such as ears, feet, snouts and what ever else they could use and cooked with beans. I suppose like the chili recipes in the US, and paella in Spain, feijoada has many different recipes, each family or region has it’s variation.

I started out by stopping at our German meat market and store, Geiers Sausage Kitchen. I had a blast checking out all the different sausages, fresh and smoked…so many choices.
I picked up some Hungarian cured bacon to use in the Feijoada, polish sausage, and smoked chorizo. A lot of the recipes called fore dried beef to add some depth, but I found mine had plenty of depth with out it. It is also commonly made with black beans, but my husband is not crazy about them so I mixed in some pinto beans because I like the flavor of them. Pork is usually the star, but again I had my reason for not using much. I just had some pork loin which was too lean in my opinion, pork butt (shoulder) would work better. This is my version after plenty of research! I will try to get the amounts down for you, but as always with cooking (not baking) nothing is exact! (You can use all black beans or great northern if that what you like, and adjust or change the meats, but it is so worth it to make this dish) Give it a try!

1 1/2 cups dried black beans -soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans -soaked overnight
3 or 4 slices of bacon (I used Hungarian bacon cut in small cubes like lardons)
1 link smoked chorizo -sliced
1 pound Polish sausage (I used one large one)
1 pound eye round steak -cubed (not the best choice, but ok)
1 pound ox tails
3 shallots or 1 yellow onion – chopped
2 carrots – diced
2 stalks celery -diced
4 cloves of garlic – sliced
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons Mew Mexico green chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 dried chilies
6 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch of parsley chopped with stems
4 cups broth (I used organic beef broth) and some water to cover

Near the end I added some cubes sweet potato and chayote, you can add butternut squash or skip it. I added some purple sweet potatoes, and I was going to add some chopped cilantro to it at the end too, but forgot!

After the soaked beans are rinsed and added to a pot with broth, start to cook them. I used my crock pot for this because it was one thing that was large enough to hold it all. Because I bought fresh polish sausage I pricked some holes in it and roasted it in the oven with the ox tails for 30 – 40 minutes. While the sausage is roasting and the beans are started, in a large pan , saute the bacon to render the fat, then brown the lean beef.
Add the shallots, celery, carrots, and cook 2 -3 minutes, then add the garlic and tomato paste, cook a little more. I then added the coriander, chili powder, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Slice the chorizo sausage to add to it. Some recipes had you slice the polish sausage and some had you leave it in big chunk, so I did both with that!
Combine the meat and remaining ingredients…

I added some water to cover everything to cook in my crock pot. It probably took another 3 – 4 cups of water, (you can use more broth is you wish) once you add all that meat to the beans…

If using a crock pot cook on low for around 8 to 10 hours or on high for 5 0r 6. I had it on all day around eight hours. I started high for about an hour to get it going then turned it low for the remaining time. Then we went out a played on the boat all day, and the last hour or so I added the sweet potato, but of course that is optional.
If making it on the stove top, it cooks for around 3 hours until everything is cooked through and tender.

The meat should be falling off the bones…if using meat with bones, like ox tails or pork ribs…
Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves and dried whole chilies.
Serve over some nice fluffy rice.
Traditionally served with steamed kale, orange slices and toasted manioc flour. I only had cassava flour, which I understand is too fine to use and just wouldn’t work, so I skipped it. My kale was a little sorry looking, but that’s okay, it wasn’t the star!
We all loved this dish, and I am so happy I tried it. I brought some to work for my co-workers, and I still had some left over to freeze for later. It sounds like a lot of work, but it was not really(and it was worth it)…the hardest part was trying not to forget anything that goes in it!

Now I have to find some of this manioc flour!
Hope you enjoy it! Happy Holidays!
Feliz Natal!”

I’ve been experimenting with a lot of cultural BBQs this year. BBQ in my view includes certain stews and chilies and this dish fits in with things I want to try. I can see myself trying this one in my dutch oven someday soon.

Nice job!