Daring Cooks October Challenge: Brazilian Feijoada

Rachel Dana was our October 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge hostess! Rachel brought Brazil into our lives by challenging us to make Feijoada and Farofa along with some other yummy side dishes traditionally served with Feijoada, which is a delicious black bean and pork stew.

"Hi! I’m Rachel Dana, a non-blogging member. I’m an American who has been living and cooking in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for the past 6 years. For this month’s challenge I wanted to share a traditional Brazilian meal that I believe will be possible to make anywhere in the world, so I chose Feijoada. And not only a feijoada stew, a feijoada meal, so get ready to get into the collard greens, farofa, vinagrete, and some other fun things as well. If the plate isn’t overflowing with food, it would just be inappropriate.
Feijoada is a famous Brazilian black bean stew filled with meat, mostly pork parts. A really traditional feijoada will have pig ears, feet, nose…this originated with slaves and what was left for them to cook with."

It was a little difficult for me this month - first problem was getting the ingredients, second problem was that I do not like beans.. Maybe it's just a side effect of my pregnancy, but the imagination of a stew with lots of pork meat in it was not really attractive. But I was curious to try a Brazilian dish so I changed the meat to chicken (mainly). I could only get hold of black beans in cans, so I was able to make a really quick feijoada. Instead of the collard greens for the feijoada meal I made spinach; and I also skipped making the Brazilian whit rice. The original recipe (with the pork feijoada, white rice and collard greens) can be found here.

Brazilian Feijoada (Meal) 
Servings: 4
  • 4 cans black beans
  • 200 gm chunk bacon (half will be used in the farofa, I used Pancetta)
  • 4 smoked Vienna sausages (made from chicken)
  • 500 gm chicken breast
  • one chicken leg, "Kasseler" style
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons onion-garlic base (see recipe below)
Chop all your bacon into small cubes. Slice your sausages around a ¼ - ½ inch (6 -12 mm) thick. Cut any pork or other meats into 1-inch (25 mm) cubes. Put the bacon fat over high heat in a large frying pan. If you really don’t want to use bacon fat, which I recommend, you can use any vegetable oil that takes high heat.Next you have to fry all your meat in a very hot pan, until well browned and cooked through. Cook each type of meat separately, but in the same pan, and remember to drain well on paper towels, patting the tops as well to take off any excess fat. First fry the bacon until nice and brown and chewy, and set aside half to use later in the farofa. Then fry the sausage and the meat.
Put the beans from the cans (inculding the water!) into a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons of the onion-garlic base, 3 bay leaves, and your meat. Add enough water to make sure everything is just covered. Simmer on medium-high heat. After about 10 minutes, check the liquid to see if it’s salty enough for your liking. Depending on what meats you are using, the salt will have released into the liquid… if this hasn’t happened add a bit more salt, you want to taste the salt in your liquid, but it shouldn’t be too strong. This is a matter of taste as well. The water will start to boil down. You want your liquid to thicken, so start letting the water get lower and lower, with everything at least mostly immersed. You can also mash some beans at the bottom of the pot to thicken your liquid. As the beans are already cooked through, you'll only need to cook until the feijoada is thick enough and the flavours from the beans and the meat have evolved, which took me about an hour.

left & up: Feijoada; left &down: Farofa; right & up: spinach and viagrete

Onion-Garlic Base
This is enough for later use as well, if you want, you can halve the recipe
  • 2 medium white onions
  • 4 large heads of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) salt
Roughly chop the onions and garlic, then puree everything in a food processor or blender.

Servings: 2-4
Farofa is one of the best things Brasil has to offer. Normally, it is made with farinha de manioca, yellow yucca flour, cooked in butter until slightly toasted. Less butter will leave it drier, and more butter will make a softer farofa. It is also made with farinha de milho, corn flour, or farinha de rosca, ground up dry breadcrumbs. You can use other things I imagine, they use panko where I work.
You can find mandioca flour at many different Latin American markets. It can be called mandioca flour, mandioc flour, yucca flour, cassava flour, but they should all be the same, though a Brazilian brand would be your best bet. Make sure not to buy ready-made farofa, “farofa pronta”, this is already toasted, no fun.
Since corn flour differs around the world, I asked my mom, who lives in Las Vegas, to test the recipe below with corn flour from the US. She bought Red Mills stone ground corn flour and followed my recipe. I’ve made farofa with dry breadcrumbs as well, and it was delicious.
Farofa is best served alongside foods with moisture, such as meats, beans, vinagrete, etc. You can add just about anything to farofa, as long as it doesn’t have moisture, such as any cooked vegetables, meats, and the best, chopped banana.
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) (60 gm/2 oz) butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (120 ml) chopped onion (about ½ medium onion)
  • 175 gm (6 oz) fresh bacon, fried, which was set aside during the feijoada
  • ½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) yucca flour, corn flour or fine ground cornmeal, or dry breadcrumbs
Melt half of your butter, 2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz), over med-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Crack the two eggs into the pan and lightly break the yolk and spread around, but don’t break up too much.When the egg has cooked, almost fully, break up into med-large pieces. The onions will brown quite a bit under the egg, but I like this flavor. Add the cooked bacon, and stir. Add the rest of the butter and stir to melt. Lower the heat to medium, toss in the yucca flour and stir well, it will quickly soak up all the butter and start to stick to the eggs, onion, and bacon.Cook, stirring for minute, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and keep stirring and cooking until the yucca flour has clumped together nicely and become golden, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to brown too much. Taste it, it should taste toasty but don’t let it burn! Taste test works here, think of frying breadcrumbs.

Servings: 6
Vinagrete, like farofa, has many variations and uses. This is a basic recipe, I used yellow bell pepper and chopped arugula, very refreshing and really gives a lift to the final plate. Farofa and vinagrete often go together and are my man’s favorite food.
  • 1 large bell pepper (capsicum), diced, about 1½ cups
  • 1 large tomato, diced, about 1 cup
  • 1 medium onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • ½ cup (120 ml) white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon (15 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons – 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or arugula (rocket)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chop the bell peppers, tomatoes and onions into small/medium pieces. Chop your parsley or arugula. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir well to combine. Press down on the veggies, the liquid should come almost to the top of the mixture, you want everything pretty much immersed.Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Gingered Whisk hat gesagt…

Great job adapting this feast to what you could find and what was appealing to you! I remember when I was pregnant some thing just were not going to be eaten, haha! Everything looks delicious!

shelley c. hat gesagt…

I'm glad you were able to adapt this challenge to your tastes and what you had available. It looks like it came together beautifully! I hope you enjoyed it :)