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

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Farofa with Boiled Egg

FarofaI get a lot of people who are looking for farofa recipes and I get a good number of questions about farofa, so I thought it was time to post a new farofa recipe. For those of you who don’t remember what farofa is or want to see my first post about it take a look HERE.

I absolutely love farofa and eat it with almost anything. My favorite is to eat it with rice, beans and meat. Traditionally it is served at barbecues with sausage, but you often find it as an accompaniment for any variety of dishes!

Farofa is super easy to make and can be made with any ingredients. Generally I stick to a simple recipe, but on the weekends or more special occasions I elaborate:). Here is one of my elaborated farofa recipes!

Ingredients

3/4 cup farinha de mandioca
2 – 4 tbsp butter
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 slices of bacon, finely chopped
1 boiled egg, chopped finely
1 handful of parsley

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bacon and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the parsley together with the farinha de mandioca. Keep over the heat for approximately 1 minute. Lastly, add the boiled egg. Remove from the heat and place into a serving bowl. This can be served warm, cold, or room temperature.
Farofa

 

Rural Brazil – Raising Pigs

DSC_0697It’s exciting writing a new post after such a long time about rural life in Brazil. There is so much to share that I was in doubt of where to start. But, finally I decided to write a post about raising pigs on my farm as I have so many fun and exciting pork recipes to share that I think this is the perfect place to start.

Raising pigs has been one of the most exciting things that my husband and I have involved ourselves in over the last year. We have always wanted to have other animals besides dogs on the farm, but never really knew with which animals to start. Sometime in 2014 we bought some little chicks with the hope of raising them so that we could have our own eggs. Unfortunately, after about 2 weeks of raising them we needed to leave for the day to São Paulo and when we came home all that was left of our chicks were feathers and feet scattered around the house. Yes, our dogs had eaten them. After this massacre we gave up on chickens as it will require quite some infrastructure to keep out our dogs (we have one who is a hunter and will eat anything that moves). Getting a cow has always been something we have thought about, but the work involved in milking is too much and with a busy vegetable production neither of us have the time to milk a cow every morning, nor, to be quite honest, do we want to!

Our brown female pig and our second male pig! This picture was taken a few days after they arrived on the farm and were still getting used to the electric fence.

Our brown female pig and our second male pig! This picture was taken a few days after they arrived on the farm and were still getting used to the electric fence.

So, last year, our employee and his wife bought a pig from our neighbor down the road to fatten and kill for meat. We spent a lot of time talking to them about how they did it, who killed the pig…etc, etc. Additionally, we both did a lot of research into raising pigs, we talked about it and eventually decided to give it a go.

In the region where we live, Serra da Mantiqueira, pork is very common and a lot of people raise their own pigs for meat. Most people raise one pig in an enclosed area on their property. Some pigs have a little bit of access to dirt, but almost never to grass. Also, all pigs are fed corn and only corn. Right from the beginning we knew that we wanted to grass feed our pigs and rotate them around our farm. We planned to use electric fence and rotate the pigs to areas which needed cleaning. We also didn’t want to feed our pigs only corn, from our research we learned that a variety of different grains would give a pig the best possible diet.

Out to pasture!

Out to pasture!

So, in November 2014 we bought our first pig from our neighbor and brought him in our pick-up truck to our farm. To the great surprise of everyone around us we managed to quickly train him with the electric fence and got him to eat grass and vegetable scraps from all around the farm.

With our first pig we actually only fed him corn, we were still researching and learning a lot about other foods for pigs and didn’t quite manage to build up a varied grain and protein diet for him. We noticed that because we only fed him corn he was actually picky about the vegetables he ate and didn’t always eat everything.

It was great fun raising him. At one point we thought that we could turn off the electric fence because he was well-trained. To our surprise he escaped his fenced area and when we came home from going grocery shopping he was by our house hanging out with our dogs. He escaped on some other occasions and found our compost piles, but in general we managed to keep him contained in his fenced area!

Our second male pig enjoying a shower on a hot day!

Our second male pig enjoying a shower on a hot day!

After about 5 months of living the good life it was time for us to take the plunge and kill the pig so that we could finally have our own meat. This was not easy, but I think we managed to make this part easier because we had raised the pig from the beginning with the intention of killing him for meat. This meant that he did not get a name…we called him porco (pig).

My husband and I had never killed or butchered a pig so we asked our employees wife to do the deed for us. She is one of the few people in our neighborhood who knows how to kill and butcher a pig and one of the few people who has the courage to do it. Without her, we never would have been able to begin raising pigs!

Helping us clean-up our vegetables. We have a lot of scraps or vegetables that we don't end up selling. The pigs love them, carrots is one of their favorites.

Helping us clean-up our vegetables. We have a lot of scraps of vegetables that we don’t end up selling. The pigs love them, carrots is one of their favorites.

Killing the pig is the most difficult process in raising an animal for meat. Pigs are especially unpleasant as they scream a lot when you try to move them, pin them down and kill them. When killing our first pig I kept my distance as I wasn’t too keen on seeing everything. Our employees wife kills the pig with a knife and I was a bit worried that there would be tons of blood. Surprisingly, it was not too bad and once the pig had died, the rest of the process was easy and actually quite a lot of fun.

The meat that we got from our first pig was absolutely amazing, the best tasting pork I had ever eaten in my life. Since eating my own pork I don’t think I can ever go back to supermarket pork. Our meat is much more fatty, but it is a rich meat with tons of flavour.

Because we killed a whole pig and kept all of the meat for ourselves I have had to learn how to use every single part of the pig. Usually, there are only a few cuts of the pig that we eat/buy at the supermarket, but since I have everything and I don’t want anything to go to waste I have had to learn how to cook all of the odd parts of the pig. It has been so much fun using parts of the animal that I would have never purchased and have become really creative in my cooking with pork. Also, since I have a lot of fat I have began rendering my own lard and using a lot of it in pastries (these pastries turn out extra flakey and tasty). And, since I also don’t want to eat all of the fat I have begun to make my own lard based soap (recipes and soap making tutorials coming up in future posts).

In conclusion, our first pig was a huge success. We loved having a pig on the farm and especially having our own meat. It is so satisfying knowing exactly where your meat comes from!

About two weeks after killing our first pig we bought two new pigs from our neighbor, one male to fatten and slaughter for meat and a female so that we could begin raising our own pigs!

At the beginning of November we killed our second pig, he is now in my freezer waiting to be eaten. And, our female pig is heavily pregnant and about to give birth any day now. We are keeping our fingers crossed that she will have a litter of 4 to 6 piglets, but since it is her first pregnancy and she is still quite small and young we can’t expect too many piglets.

The first fenced in area the pigs helped us get under control. They loved the freedom to be able to run around and forage for bugs under the trees!

The first fenced in area the pigs helped us get under control. They loved the freedom to be able to run around and forage for bugs under the trees!

After gaining experience through our first pig we became a little bit more adventurous with the second two. We immediately diversified their feed and expanded their grazing areas. The result of these two changes was two pigs that weren’t fussy about any food that we gave them. They ate absolutely anything we put in front of them. Additionally, the male that we slaughtered in November had much less fat than our first pig and we got much leaner meat.

Although my husband and I are still not keen on doing the actual killing of the pig we are slowly learning how to butcher and, who knows, maybe one day we will actually do the deed of killing. First though, we will need to learn how to castrate piglets…that will be coming up pretty soon actually!

I promise I will send a little update when the piglets are born, I am super excited and am keeping a close eye on our soon-to-be mom. Also, stay tuned for lots of wonderful pork recipes….

 

 

 

Farofa

Receita de FarofaIf you travel to Brazil and you eat meat, the chances of being offered farofa are pretty high. But, as a part of the offer to try this dish will be a very kind ‘but I am not sure if you are going to like it.’ There is something about Brazilians when it comes to foreigners and farofa that they do not think these gringos (term used to refer to foreigners in Brazil) will like this manioc flour based side dish. When my husband first offered farofa to me he started with the very kind phrase ‘but I don’t think you are going to like it.’ Well, he was wrong with that one! And it seems that Brazilians are still surprised when they learn that this gringa LOVES to eat and make farofa.

Ok, so you are probably reading this and wondering ‘what the hell is this farofa dish.’ Farofa is a side dish commonly served with meat, rice, and beans and is almost always found at churrascos (barbecues). Farofa is made from farinha de mandioca which is a much courser and less starchy manioc flour than regular tapioca flour (see my post about the different types of manioc flours in Brazil). The farinha de mandioca is slightly yellow and can be found in many different varieties, from toasted to course to flakey (looks a little bit like corn flakes)! The type of farinha de manioca you use depends entirely on your taste buds; there is no right or wrong farinha de mandioca to use when making farofa.

So the base of farofa is a dry and course manioc flour. Because this flour is rather tasteless and not nice to eat on its own, Brazilians use butter, onions, bacon, parsley, eggs and almost anything else you can imagine to flavor this flour and make it in to a deliciously yummy side dish that is paired beautifully with meat.

The secret to a really tasty farofa is the butter. Lots of butter is melted in a frying pan, onions are added and are either lightly sautéd or sautéd until they are brown and crispy. Other ingredients are sautéd next. Lastly, making sure there is enough butter in the pan, the farinha de mandioca is added and mixed with all of the other ingredients. The butter is used to add moisture to the dry flour. The trick is to get just the right amount of butter so as not to make the farinha de mandioca too moist or too dry!

As with all Brazilian dishes everyone has their own recipe for farofa and swears by it. This is my favorite recipe and the one that I make the most. For a different farofa recipe take a look at this one from fellow blogger Sally.

Receita de FarofaIngredients

3/4 cup farinha de mandioca
2 – 4 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 slices of bacon, finely chopped
1 handful of Cheiro verde or parsley

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are just beginning to brown. Add the bacon and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the cheiro verde together with the farinha de mandioca. Keep over the heat for approximately 1 minute. Remove from the heat and place into a serving bowl. This can be served warm, cold, or room temperature.

Eat with meat (sausage is my favorite), rice, and beans.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Comments: To make this recipe it is absolutely essential that you use farinha de mandioca. The fine tapioca flour that is used to make pão de queijo will not work. Finding the course manioc flour outside of Brazil is not all that easy. I have found it in the international section of some supermarkets in the USA, but not frequently. You can easily buy it online. Take a look here for links of where to buy it or this link will take you directly to the product! You have the option of buying ‘torrada’ or ‘cruda/crua’. The ‘torrada’ has a stronger more nutty flavor than the ‘cruda/crua’. My favorite brand for farinha de mandioca is Yoki!