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.

Banana Cake (Bolo de Banana)

Brazilian Banana CakeI am always looking for new cake recipes and the simpler the better. At home we always like to have a cake on the counter. We eat cake for breakfast and as a snack in the afternoon, so its an important part of our diet:)! I don’t always manage to have a cake, but I do try. Because we eat cake frequently, I like to make simple cakes. Usually I don’t bother with an icing as it makes the cake much heavier. Also, I like cakes that are quick and easy to whip up. I usually make my cakes at the end of a busy day, so the less time it takes to make the cake the better.

A little while ago I had a lot of over ripe bananas in my kitchen. Instead of throwing them to the pigs to eat I decided to look for a simple Brazilian cake recipe. I came across a simple looking recipe and decided to give it a go. The cake turned out tasty, but it was a little dense. I liked the flavor, but not the texture. So, I noted down the recipe and made note of some changes I wanted to make.

A couple weeks after my first attempt I gave this recipe another go. I made the changes I had wanted to and………the cake turned out fabulous. The flavor was perfect and it was a nice light and fluffy cake. Not greasy at all and just the perfect taste of banana. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE banana cake!

So, here is the recipe, I hope you give this cake a try as it is a true gem and has become part of my regular cake rotation:)!

 

BANANA CAKE

Brazilian Banana CakeIngredients
2 1/4 cups of white flour
1 1/4 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsps of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 tsp of cinammon powder
5 ripe bananas
1/2 cup of milk

Place all of the first seven ingredients into the bowl of a standing mix.

Mash the bananas in a separate bowl. Add the milk and mix until well incorporated.

Begin mixing the first seven ingredients and gradually add the banana and milk mixture to it. Make sure that the butter has been fully incorportated into the batter. Mix at a medium speed for about 3 minutes.

Pour batter into a greased and floured baking tin. Bake at 180C (355F) for approximately 30 minutes.

Brazilian Banana Cake

Tapioca Recipes – Two ways to use ‘goma de tapioca’

Gluten-free anything seems to be all the rage at the moment and quite regularly I get questions from people curious about tapioca flours and wondering what other gluten-free tapioca recipes I have. After a long hiatus, I am ready to share a new gluten-free tapioca recipe. If you are still a little confused about what I mean by tapioca take a look at my post on tapioca/manioc flours, hopefully that will clear some things up!

In the north of Brazil there are many foods that are made with manioc flours, much more than in the south. For a very long time manioc flours were the primary flour source in the north, therefore all breads, cakes and cookies were made with manioc flours. Over the past years these recipes have begun to make their way to the south of Brazil and slowly new and different gluten-free recipes are getting known, as well as access to some different manioc flours!

One of the most popular items at the moment is a dry-white manioc starch pancake called tapioca. This pancake is eaten for breakfast or as a snack in the north of Brazil filled with butter and cheese, or jam, or any other filling you may like.

Tapioca is made with a hydrated manioc starch called ‘goma de tapioca’. It used to be almost impossible to find goma de tapioca in the south, but with the growing popularity of tapioca you can almost find it anywhere.

Making the tapioca pancake is super easy. For those of you in the USA, the hardest thing will be trying to find the goma de tapioca. If you cannot find the goma you can always use polvilho azedo and hydrate it yourself (see below for instructions).

I often eat tapioca as an afternoon snack and for breakfast I sometimes make a richer european pancake, substituting the white flour for goma de tapioca. I have included instructions for making the traditional northern tapioca and my european tapioca pancake. Enjoy!

Making Goma de Tapioca at home:
To make the hydrated tapioca starch flour you will need to start with either tapioca flour, polivilho azedo or polvilho doce. To buy online take a look at these links: tapioca flour, polivilho azedo, polvilho doce.

You will need:
> 500g tapioca flour, polivilho azedo or polvilho doce
> 200ml water

Step 1: Put the tapioca flour, polvilho azedo or polvilho doce into a bowl. Begin adding the water a little at a time, mixing well with each addition. It is important to add the water slowly so that you guarantee all of the flour is fully hydrated. Once all the water has been mixed in, let sit for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Pass the hydrated flour through a sieve to get rid of all lumps. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. The hydrated flour will keep for up to 2 weeks.

The Brazilian Tapioca Pancake: Once you have the hydrated tapioca flour sieve the flour into a hot frying pan, make sure you create a good layer and making sure to spread evenly over the pan. Leave for 30-60 seconds and then turn over (you do not want the flour to brown). Bake on the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove from pan. You can eat the tapioca pancake with any filling you wish; my favorites are jam or cheese.

Pancakes made with goma de tapioca instead of white flour

Pancakes made with goma de tapioca instead of white flour

The European Tapioca Pancake: Although I am providing a recipe for the european tapioca pancake that I make at home, you can use any pancake recipe, just substitute the white flour for goma de tapioca (hydrated tapioca flour). I have not made this with american style pancakes, so do not know if it will work.

Give these pancakes a go, they are super tasty and are a little bit chewier than regular pancakes. They make for an excellent pancake for anyone who is gluten-free or for a different pancake in the morning!

Ingredients
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups of Goma de tapioca (hydrated tapioca flour)
A splash of milk
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together until you have a slightly runny batter free of lumps. Heat a frying pan and melt a bit of butter in it to prevent the pancakes from sticking. Pour some of the batter into the hot pan, bake until brown and then turn over. Bake the second side until brown. Remove from pan. Eat while hot with you favorite pancake toppings!

Do any of you have your own goma de tapioca recipes? If so, I would love to hear them!

 

Chicken Stew With Peas

Chicken stew with peasIt has been a month since my last post and definitely time for a new recipe. This past month has been busy with lots of farm work and a wonderful visit from my parents. We are coming to the end of our summer here and slowly our work is beginning to decrease just a little bit. Unfortunately though, a lot of our work is being disrupted because of relentless rains. Everyday for the past months we have been getting torrential rain storms that release tons of water on top of us and have turned everything into a mud bath. To top things off these storms are usually accompanied by thunder and lightning which tend to cause power outages….so, no peace for us!

But, rain and work aside, let me share with you this delicious recipe I stumbled across last week.

So, last week, amid lots of farm work and delays in all of our transplanting because of rain, I needed to find something to cook one evening. I had taken a kilo of chicken already out of the freezer and at 5pm wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make with it. I pulled out one of my favorite recipe books (O Brasil À Mesa by Heloisa Bacellar) and began leafing through it. There were several chicken recipes, but this one caught my eye, frango ensopado com ervilha or in english, chicken stew with peas. I quickly read through the recipe and was hooked. Chicken, bacon, onions, garlic, tomato and peas, what could be better? Plus, this was a recipe where you throw everything into a pot and just let it boil. Quick and simple, not much to go wrong!

I whipped everything together, making some adjustments to the recipe because I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and then I let everything boil on the stove for almost 2 hours. The recipe called for approximately 45 minutes of boiling, but I decided to stretch it to increase the flavours and tenderness of the chicken.

The result? Perfection! The chicken was super tender and rich with flavour. This was by far one of the best chicken dishes I had made.

Without further distraction here is the recipe. This is a MUST TRY and a recipe that nothing can go wrong with. You can easily substitute ingredients and if you don’t want to boil this for very long you could easily throw everything into a pressure cook and boil for approximately 30 minutes!

ENJOY!

CHICKEN STEW WITH PEAS
serves 4

Chicken stew with peas1kg of chicken thighs, with or without skin
100g of bacon, cubed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp of sugar
1 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup of green peas
1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped
Oil
Salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of your pot with oil, heat, and quickly brown the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve on a plate. Sautee the bacon in the same pot, add the onion and, mixing continuously, cook until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and sautee for one more minute. Add the sugar and leave to caramelize. Add the wine and mix well, making sure to loosen everything from the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken to the pot, add the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tomato sauce and cook on a low heat, with the lid half-on for approximately 40 – 60 minutes (you can boil for up to 2 hours if you wish). Boil until the meat becomes very soft and the sauce has thickened. Add the peas and leave to cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper, add the parsley and serve with white rice!

Changes that I made:
1. Instead of using bacon I used smoked sausage chopped very finely.
2. I did not have white wine for cooking, so instead just used water.
3. I also didn’t have bay leaves, so instead seasoned with a little bit of thyme.
4. I did not add the sugar as I do not like to put sugar in a lot of my dishes.
5. The parsley I was fully prepared to add in at the last-minute, but ended up forgetting it completely. The dish was still wonderful without it:)!
6. I did not measure the peas, instead I just threw in a whole can.

Homemade Cordials

Homemade CordialAfter a long day of working outside in the fields I like to come home, begin cooking dinner, and make myself a drink (usually caipirinha, but a cold beer is also always a good way to end the day). But, sometime ago we began making cordials at home and they have become one of my favorite things to have at the end of the day. Either I fill a shot glass and sip at it or I will fill a bit of a bigger glass with some ice and add the cordial. It is really refreshing!

I love cordials and there is nothing better than to have a full selection of homemade ones that you can pick and choose from.

Last year we had a lot of fruits on the farm and instead of just making jam with them all I decided it would be great to make some cordials. So, I made blackberry, plum and jabuticaba (this is a grape like fruit that grows on the trunk of the tree, here’s the link to the Wikipedia page about it). They all turned out really well, and although I made quite a lot, they were gone pretty quickly. Everyone’s favorite was the plum cordial, but the blackberry and jabuticaba were not far behind.

If you have some fruits on hand, or just want to make your own cordials give this recipe a try. I use this same recipe for all of my cordials because it is super easy! My alcohol of choice is cachaça as I can find it for very cheap, but you can substitute it for vodka!

SIMPLE CORDIAL RECIPE

1 kg of fruit (plum, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry or jabuticaba)
1 liter of alcohol, cachaça or vodka
2 bottles of water
1 kg white sugar

Put the fruit and alcohol together into a jar. Seal well and leave to macerate for approximately 24 days. If you would like a stronger fruit flavor you can leave sit for an additional 10 days.

After 24 days, prepare a simple syrup with the water and the sugar. In a medium pan mix the water and sugar together, bring to a light boil and let simmer until you have a very light syrup. The consistency should be a little thick! Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Filter the alcohol and fruit mix. Make sure to remove all of the fruit. Pass through a sieve several times if necessary.

Once the syrup has cooled, mix the alcohol and syrup together. Add the syrup a little at a time and taste after each addition. Add more or less syrup to the alcohol depending on your desired flavour. For more sweet, add more syrup, for less sweet, add less!

Mix well and bottle.