Brazilian Style Grits (Quirera)

Quirera com costelinhaI have never been much of a grits fan. I always found them weird and tasteless. So, when I lived in the USA I never ate them. But, about two weeks ago I was introduced to the Brazilian style grits and I absolutely fell in love with them. So much so, that two days after first trying them I made a HUGE pot at home!!!!!

In Brazil, grits are called quirera and are commonly made into a dish with pork ribs or chicken. It is only lightly seasoned with onions, garlic, pepper and parsley, and for the rest all of the flavor comes from the meat.

This is a perfect recipe for a colder day. But, can just as easily be eaten during the summer.

Enjoy!

Brazilian Style Grits (Quirera)

Quirera com costelinha1kg/2.2lbs of pork ribs or chicken drumsticks
500g/1.1lbs of grits (quirera de milho)
1 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
Parsley
Salt
Pepper

Boil the ribs or chicken in a pressure cooker until well cooked.

In a large pan sautee the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ribs or chicken and fry until just beginning to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. Add  5 cups of the broth from the ribs or chicken. Add the grits and, stirring constantly, bring to a simmer. If needed add more water, making sure to maintain a soup-like consistency. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the grits are cooked through. Season with salt, pepper and parsley.

Serve hot.

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Brazilian boiled pork (Carne na panela)

DSC_0012Coming up with an appropriate translation for this dish was not easy. In portuguese this dish is called carne na panela which translated literally means ‘meat in the pan or pot’. Although this is an accurate description of what the dish is and how it is cooked, it doesn’t sound too appealing as a name for such a delicious dish. Stew would be a completely misleading name as there is nothing stew-like in the end result. So, I was actually a little bit stumped of how to properly translate the name of this dish and how to make it sound as delicious as it is. After a lot of thought I came up with something that didn’t sound too horrendous and accurately described what this dish is, brazilian boiled pork.

Between all of the sweets that I have recently been making I have managed to make this dish quite a number of times. As many of my regular readers will know, my husband and I raise our own pork on the farm. This means I usually have a freezer full of meat (this Saturday it will get restocked as we will be killing and butchering our piglets that are now pretty big) and have to use all the different parts of the pig. My speciality in the kitchen is definitely not meat. It is not something I am very good at making and something that I still have a lot to learn about. Usually, it is my husband that does all of the meat cooking in our house and I stay far away for fear of destroying the dish. But, recently, with all of the pork that we have, I have begun digging my hands into some more meat dishes, more out of necessity really! The first dishes I made were not that great and definitely had a lot of faults, but over time I am getting a better feeling for how to cook meat and I already am developing my little book of tips and tricks for making delicious meat dishes. And, this dish is probably the best that I have made and mastered.

Carne na panelaIn my search for good meat dishes and my attempt to learn how to properly cook meat I came across this recipe of boiling pork loin for about two to three hours. The recipe and process sounded easy and I knew from eating meat cooked this way that it is really tasty. So, I pulled out some pork loin from my freezer, marinated it with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice and let it sit for about three hours. I then put some oil in the bottom of a cast iron pan, added my marinated pork, filled the pan with water and added some herbs for extra seasoning. I left the pan to simmer for a good three hours and until most of the water had boiled off. The smell that permeated through the house was amazing! Once most of the water was boiled off and the pork loin was literally falling apart, I took the pan off the heat and let it sit for another 30 minutes. 

The end result…….this dish was absolutely amazing. My husband and I loved it and it was by far the best pork dish we had made.

Over the next weeks I made this dish several more times, using different cuts of pork, mostly the leg. Each time the flavor got better and the meat juicier. Now, this dish is my go-to meat dish and every chance I get I pull some pork out of the freezer and make this. The real secret to this dish is a long marination time and a slow simmer. This is not a dish to be rushed.

For anyone who is as shaky as me with cooking meat, definitely give this recipe a go. It is difficult to go wrong with this dish and the results are always amazing.

Happy cooking everyone!

PAN BOILED PORK (Carne na panela)

1.2kg/2.6lbs of pork loin or leg
1-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice from 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Season the pork with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours in the fridge.

In a medium pan, cover the bottom with vegetable oil, add the seasoned pork, the bay leaf and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, when boiling lower the heat, and, with the lid half on simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until almost all the water has boiled off and the meat is very soft and falling apart.

Serve the pork with rice, beans and vegetables or potatoes.

English-Style Pork Pie

English-Style Pork PieI absolutely love pies. I have always liked making them, but I especially like eating them. Pies have never really been a cooking strong point for me, but they are one thing in the kitchen that I have never given-up on making. For me, the biggest challenge has always been the crust, either the crust is too flakey or is too tough, or it doesn’t roll out properly! Whatever the problem, pie crust has always been something that I have struggled with, until I learnt about hot water pastry. This was a pie crust life-saver for me. Firstly, it is easy to make and a beautiful pastry to work with (while still warm). Secondly, it is perfect for meat pies or any pie that is chocked full of delicious ingredients. It is a recipe that every pie lover should have in their recipe arsenal!

A little while ago I wanted to make an english style pork pie. I had been watching some english cooking show and they mentioned some deep dish meat pies, immediately I was taken by this idea and began researching different english style pork pies. Along with the deep dish meat pies I learnt about hot water pastry. I knew that I needed to try both of these and as soon as I came across some good recipes I tried it out.

The pie was really easy to make and turned out beautiful. I loved the idea of cooking the meat in the pie (not pre-cooking) and using boiled eggs in the center of the pie! The hot water pastry was a success. The pie crust turned out perfect, the pastry was easy to use, it did not break from the weight of the meat and held the deep pie shape perfectly once removed from the tin!

For the pie I used my own pork and made a gelatin broth by boiling one pigs foot for approximately 60 – 90 minutes with onion, garlic and carrots. I did not use any sausage (as indicated in the recipe) instead I just used pernil or pork leg, keeping any fat on the meat!

Today I am sharing the original recipe that I used, but I for the pie that I made I did not use the same meats as indicated in the recipe. I think you can use any kind of pork meat for this pie, just make sure to include a little bit of fat as this will give extra flavor to the pie.

This recipe is for one large pork pie, but you can also use this same recipe to make small individual pies. I haven’t yet made the individual pies, but plan to make some in the near future so that I can freeze them and just pull them out of the freezer when I want a quick meal! If making small pies, use quail eggs instead of chicken eggs:)!

English-Style Pork PieENGLISH-STYLE PORK PIE

For the filling

300g/10½oz good-quality sausages, such as Lincolnshire, skins removed
300g/10½oz pork mince
150g/5½oz cooked ham hock, cut into roughly 1.5cm/½in pieces
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
salt and white pepper
1 chicken stock cube (optional)
150ml/5fl oz boiling water (optional)
2 leaves gelatine (optional)

For the hot water crust pastry

450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g/3½oz strong white flour
75g/2½oz unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
½ tsp salt
100g/3½oz lard, plus extra for greasing
1 free-range egg yolk, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease a 1kg/2lb 4oz loaf tin (measuring about 10x20cm/4x8in across the base) with lard, then cut one long strip of baking parchment, the width of the tin, and place it in the tin so that there’s an overhang of parchment at each end, which will help you remove the pie later.

  2. First make the filling. Put all the ingredients, except the hard-boiled eggs, into a large bowl and season lightly with salt and white pepper. Mix together thoroughly using your hands. Cook a little nugget of the mixture in a frying pan and taste it to check the seasoning. Add more seasoning, as necessary, to the remaining filling. Put the mixture in the fridge while you make the pastry.

  3. To make the pastry, combine the flours in a bowl, add the butter and rub in lightly with your fingertips. Heat 200ml/7fl oz water, the salt and lard in a saucepan until just boiling. Pour the mixture onto the flour and mix together with a spoon. Once cool enough to handle, tip onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth dough.

  4. Working as quickly as you can (the pastry will become more crumbly as it cools), roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use it to line the prepared tin, leaving any excess hanging over the edges.

  5. Press half of the meat filling into the pastry-lined tin. Take a thin slice off the top and bottom of each boiled egg (this helps them sit next to each other and makes slicing the pie easier), then place the eggs lengthways down the middle of the pie. Add the remaining meat filling and pat it down.

  6. Brush the overhanging pastry edge with egg yolk. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and place over the pie. Pinch the pastry edges together to seal and trim the edges neatly. Make three steam holes in the top of the pie and brush with more egg yolk.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and bake for a further hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

  8. When the pie is cooked, set aside to cool for 10 minutes. If making the jelly, dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Soak the gelatine in a little cold water until soft then squeeze out excess water and whisk into the warm chicken stock.

  9. Pour the gelatine mixture into the hole in the top of the pie until the hollow cavity within the pie is filled. Allow the pies to set in the fridge overnight.

 

Recipe taken from:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/raised_pork_and_egg_pie_32033
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/small_pork_pies_with_11074

Feijoada – Brazilian Black Bean and Meat Stew

Brazilian FeijoadaThe other week, I was scrolling through all of the posts that I have done on my blog and was surprised to see that I hadn’t done a post on feijoada. I’m still a little bit in shock that I haven’t posted it here yet, but, let’s get over that shock and dig into this absolutely amazing dish!

Feijoada or black bean stew is the national dish of Brazil and is a must-have for when you visit Brazil. It is prepared with black beans and an assortment of meats, such as salted pork, beef and any kind of pork trimmings, ears, tail and feet. Bacon, pork ribs, sausage and jerked beef are commonly included as well. The fejoada is prepared over a low heat in a thick clay pot. The beans and meat are pre-cooked, some of the meats, like the bacon and sausage may be quickly fried in the pan before adding the beans. The smells are mouth-watering and the final dish should have a healthy amount of meat with a light covering of a dark purplish-brown broth from the beans.

It took me sometime to get accustomed to this dish, but that was in large part because beans were not quite my favorite thing to eat. But, it is difficult to not like this dish and after some time I fell in love with feijoada and can’t get enough of it.

It is difficult to go wrong with feijoada. It can be made with any variety of meats, traditionally pork and beef, and you can use as many cuts of meat as you want or as little. My recommendation is to always try to have some sausage, bacon and either pork ribs or pork loin. Just those meats alone can make an absolutely delicious Saturday lunch with friends and family.

Brazilian FeijoadaFeijoada is commonly eaten with rice, collards, farofa and slices of orange to cut the heaviness of the beans and meat!

Today I will leave you with a simple feijoada recipe (you can leave out any of the meats you do not eat or do not have, and although I have put quantities, these are just indications), and for the accompaniments you can click the links below.

> Brazilian White Rice Recipe
> Sauteed Collards Recipe
> Simple Farofa Recipe or Farofa with boiled egg

COMPLETE FEIJOADA

Ingredients

1 kg black beans
100 g jerked beef
50g bacon or pork belly
70 g pigs ear or 1 pigs ear
70 g pigs tail or 1 pigs tail
70 g pigs foot or 1 pigs foot
100 g pork ribs
100 g pork loin
250 g sausage

Seasonings

2 large onions, finely chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, crushed
Black pepper
Salt

36 to 24 hours before making the feijoada, put the jerked beef and any salted meats in water to remove all the salt. Every few hours change the water.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, put the black beans to soak the night before.

On the day. Cut all of the meats into rough pieces, they can be a little bit bigger than bite size, but make sure they are not too big. Pre-cook the pork loin and ribs in water. I use a pressure cooker for this!

If using a pressure cooker, put the black beans with water to cook and leave cook on pressure for 30 minutes. If not using a pressure cooker, put beans in a pan with water and cook for approximately 60 to 90 minutes or until al dente.

Using a large deep pan or a clay pot, put a little bit of oil in the pan and heat. Add the onions and sautee for a few minutes, add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bacon or pork belly and sautee until almost cooked. Add the sausage, jerked beef, ear, tail and foot. Sautee for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining meat ingredients. Add the beans, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and leave on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until all of the meat is well cooked. If needed, you can add some water! Lastly, add the spring onions.

Serve warm with rice, collards, farofa and slices of orange.
Brazilian Feijoada

 

Information used from:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feijoada

Rural Brazil – Rendering Lard

The first time you kill a pig and keep all of the meat for yourself it can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of parts of the pig that you either don’t know about or don’t know how to use. There is of course the usual cuts, like the loin and the ribs, but there’s a lot more to the animal then what you get at the supermarket. And then there is all of the fat. What do you do with all the fat from a pig? Obviously you can’t eat all of this, (although where I live it is very common to make pork rinds…recipe coming soon) and to just throw it out is a little bit of a waste.

Our first pig that we killed had a good amount of fat on him. I, excited to finally have my own meat and determined to use every last bit of it, decided to keep all of the fat and I figured that I would find a way to cook with it or just make tons of pork rinds! It was A LOT of fat and after a couple of weeks, some portions of pork rinds, and an overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to use all of the fat, I began to research about lard soap making.

Soap making looked like a perfect solution to my fat problem and after a lot of research I got down to the business of rendering my own lard. Rendering lard is a super simple process and although there are some icky parts to it, it really isn’t that bad.

So, here goes, how to render your own lard!

How to render lard

Grinding all of the fat!

Step 1: If you have a meat grinder, chop all of the fat into medium to small-sized cubes, making sure to remove all skin and meat attached to the fat. If you do not have a meat grinder this step is going to be much more tedious. You need to cut the fat as finely as possible. Having the fat finely chopped ensures that you get more lard and that the fat does not brown or burn when heating it, becoming hard and unusable!

How to render lard

Freshly ground lard in the pan and beginnning to heat.

Step 2: This is for all people using a meat grinder. Take the chopped fat and pass it through the meat grinder. This is the yuckiest step in the process, but makes such a huge difference when rendering your own lard. By grinding all of the fat you ensure that the fat will not brown and harden while heating, resulting in a much higher lard yield! If you plan to render a lot of lard or do this on a regular basis I highly recommend investing in a meat grinder (you can find one HERE at amazon.com, kitchen aid also sells as an attachment HERE). I own both of these and prefer the manual heavy-duty grinder.

How to render lard

Beginning to boil and liquify.

Step 3: Transfer all of the fat to a large pan (I use the largest pan I have, but I also try to render as much lard as possible when I do this). Place on a medium to low heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the fat to a slow boil. As the fat heats it will begin to melt and liquid will begin to form. The length of this process will depend on how much lard you are rendering. In the pictures I have here, I was rendering about 5 kg and to complete the whole process it took about 2 hours. It is a good idea to do this with all of your windows open to keep a good air circulation. I always find that the smell of fat can permeate throughout the whole house which I don’t like!

How to render lard

Almost ready to pour off most of the fat!

Step 4: When about 3/4 of the fat has melted pour the liquid fat through a metal strainer into storage jars (I use regular jamming jars). At this point you will be left with a lot of gritty-like bits of fat, return this to the heat and render for some more time about 10 to 20 minutes.

I do “two rendering batches” so that I guarantee a clean first batch and a dirtier second batch. You will not be able to melt all of the fat, so I do a “second” batch as a way to try and get more from the fat, but this will be a browner lard!

You can use the leftover fat in your cooking if you like, fry them up so they get nice and brown and you can use them with potatoes or as seasoning in other dishes.

How to render lard

Batch one finished and ready to be put into jars. You can notice the brown chunks at the bottom, these bits I reheat to get my second batch.

Step 5: Let the fat cool, as it cools it will become white and solid. Store for 3 to 6 months at room temperature. You do not need to refrigerate, although I do know of some people who do!

If you have any questions please let me know. Happy Lard Rendering!

How to render lard

In the jars and cooling!

How to render lard

All cooled and ready to use!