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!


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
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.


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



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


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

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:


The last few weeks have been crazily busy for me and trying to get a lot of cooking done has not been easy, especially when I am trying to learn how to cook new dishes. Writing posts at the end of a busy work day has been almost impossible, so you will have to excuse my tardiness this week with my posts.

EscondidinhoToday I decided to dig into my collection of food that I have already made and share with you a wonderful dish for a cold day. When I made escondidinho a few weeks ago it was not my best cooking day, to say the least. While cooking the mandioca (manioc or yucca) I stupidly decided not to use my pressure cooker and ended up burning my pan because I did not put enough water in to properly cook the mandioca. As a result, I only half managed to cook the mandioca. Mashing the mandioca became a whole other headache: I couldn’t properly mash the mandioca because not all had been properly cooked. So, to make a smooth mixture proved very difficult and I decided to use my food processor to help me out. Oh man was that a mistake. After successfully pureeing the first batch the second load was too much for my small food processor to manage and smoke started to leak from the motor. I quickly turned it off and decided to settle with a lumpy mixture! I am not sure if my processor is actually working properly as I have not dared to try it again; I couldn’t bare to have to throw it in the trash. Anyway, the mandioca part of this recipe proved to be a challenge. It didn’t need to be, I just had a bad kitchen day and didn’t have my cooking hat on! But, to my surprise dealing with the rest of this dish was a breeze.

So, with my rant of the difficulties that I encountered with this recipe over, let me tell you what escondidinho is. The easiest way to describe escondidinho is by saying that it is similar to a Sheppard’s Pie, but at the same time it is really nothing like it. Escondidinho is made with carne seca, a dried, salted meat similar to jerked beef, and manioc/yucca. It is baked in the oven and perfect for a cold night or with beer. From what I have been told, escondidinho is not a dish that is commonly made at home, but instead can be found in bars. Popular in the state of Minas Gerais and other states in the northeast of Brazil it is simple and tasty. According to wikipedia it mentions that escondininho was invented for two young boys, Adolfo and Norberto Canelas who were hungry and only had manioc/yucca and carne seca. Out of these simple ingredients was born this wonderfully simple dish.

EscondidinhoNow, before I share the recipe with you, I have to be completely honest that this was not my favorite dish that I have made or tasted. Although I had the reassurance from my wonderful husband that I had done a really good job with making the dish and it tasted exactly how it should, I did not really like it. I figured out pretty quickly what I didn’t like about this dish and it was the mandioca. Mandioca has a slightly bitter flavor and although lots of people may like this, I cannot bring myself to enjoy the bitterness of it. On the other hand though, the carne seca was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t get enough of it. I think that next time I will put a european twist on this dish and make it with mashed potatoes!

But, I have not given-up using manioc. This week I tried out a manioc bread and it turned out wonderful. I will be sharing the recipe soon, once I have fine tuned it:)

Carne seca is not easy to find outside of Brazil. A solution that some people making escondidinho have come up with is using ground beef. Take a look at this wonderful recipe from Tiffany at A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt. Or if you are determined to make this the right way you can buy carne seca online.

Here you are, after all of my ramblings I give you the recipe for Escondidinho! Enjoy.


1Kg carne seca
500g manioc/yucca
200g cream
1/2 cup milk
2tbsp butter
1 onion

Put the carne seca in cold water and leave to soak for up to 24 hours to remove all of the salt. Cook the carne seca in a pressure cooker for approximately 30 minutes. When cool shred the carne seca and set aside. Cook the manioc/yucca in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Remove from the water, remove the hard fibre in the middle and mash. Add the cream and milk to form a smooth mixture. Set aside. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft but not brown. Add the carne seca, salt, and parsley. Sauté for up to five minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Using an oven proof dish put the carne seca mixture on the bottom of the dish and cover with the manioc mixture. Smooth the top. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is crisp and brown.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Bife a Rolê

Beef RollI don’t usually cook meat! In my house it is usually my husband who is in charge of cooking the meat and I do the rest of the cooking. Ok, so I do cook some meat, but it is mainly chicken. My husband credits himself with teaching me how to cook meat and getting over my squeamishness with even touching it. When I met my husband in 2005 I didn’t eat much meat and what I did eat generally consisted of chicken, turkey, and some more chicken. After living in Brazil for half a year in 2005 and 2006 I had been converted into a full meat eater. Yes, my husband did have a large role to play in this as he is a die-hard meat eater and needs it almost on a daily basis (me, not so much)!

Beef RollWhen I started on this journey to learn how to cook Brazilian food I knew that meat would pop-up at some point and I would have to buckle up and make an effort to really cook those red meats right. In such a meat-loving country as Brazil there is no way to avoid cooking meat. So, when I discovered this delicious dish I figured that this would be the perfect way to start my new meat cooking experiences. There isn’t too much seaoning, frying, grilling…etc that goes into cooking Bife a Rolê, so not too many areas to get it wrong. 

This is such a tasty and simple dish to make that after making it once I think I am now going to include it into my regular weekly cooking. If you have a pressure cooker at home this dish is quick and no hassle. This is a wonderful to eat with rice, beans, and collards. Of course, if you do not have a pressure cooker you can just follow the same cooking directions, it will just take longer!

For some beautiful pictures of how to assemble the Bife a Rolê take a look at the beautiful blog A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt. Tiffany adds a few more ingredients to her Bife a Rolê and there is nothing stopping you from adding whatever you think might go great in this dish.

Happy rolling!

Beef RollIngredients

1/2 kg (1 lb) patinho or (in the USA) silverside beef
1/2 onion, sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
4 strips of bacon
16oz can whole tomatoes
3 cans of water (same as the tomato)

Flatten the meat and cut into long strips of approximately 2 – 3 inches wide. Roll each strip with carrots, bacon, and onion inside (or any other fillings of your choice). Hold the rolls together with one or two toothpicks. Put tomato, water, oregano, and salt in the pressure cooker. Place the beef rolls in the tomato mix making sure that they are fully covered by the liquid, if not, add more water. Cook for 30 minutes. Open the pressure cooker and cook open for approximately 10 to 15 more minutes depending on how much liquid is in the pan and how much liquid you want to serve with the bife a rolê. Serve hot with rice, beans, and sautéed greens.

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Empadinha de Frango (Chicken Pies)

Chicken PieHands down empadinha are one of my favorite Brazilian snacks. Found in any lanchonete (snack shop), padaria (bakery), or cafe empadinha’s are the perfect savory snack to have with a good strong cup of coffee. Usually you have a choice of filling, with frango (chicken), palmito (hearts of palm), and queijo (cheese) being the most common. Once you eat one of these you will want to eat one every day.

Chicken PieEmpadinha is a small cupcake sized pastry filled with a savory filling. The pastry is not like your usual pie pastry, instead, the pastry for the empadinha is usually much thicker and as soon as you take your first bite the whole thing should fall apart. Although it is not the easiest thing to eat, one of my favorite parts of eating empadinha is the fact that the pastry is so crumbly and falls apart.

There are different ways of referring to this little chicken pie in Brazil which I think you should know about. Empada is what they are really called, but everyone calls them empadinha which basically means ‘little empada’. When you have a big empada it is called empadão or litterally ‘big empada’!

Chicken PieI have wanted to make empadinha for a long time but was always a little bit nervous. I love making pastry and over the past years I have considerably improved my pastry making skills. My apprehension with making empadinha was that I couldn’t really find the right recipe. Every recipe I found had a different pastry recipe and I became overwhelmed and couldn’t decide which one would give me the perfect falling-apart-pastry that I wanted. In the end I found two recipes that I liked, mixed them together, added my own twists, and made delicious empadinha that were devoured really fast!

I ended up making much larger than usual empadinha’s and my pastry was a little bit thinner than normal. But, they tasted perfect, the pastry was light and crumbly, and most importantly, fell apart when you took your first bite. Everything in the baking process went surprisingly smooth. When I started making these I was not convinced I would have an easy time in the kitchen, but luckily I was wrong. My only advice for if you are going to make these is make a large enough quantity so that you can freeze them and have them quickly ready to eat when you want!

If you want to try a different filling you can use the recipe for the filling of my Hearts of Palm Pie.

Chicken PieIngredients

3 egg yolks
200 ml water
600 g (1.3 lbs) white flour
1 tsp salt
300 g (10oz) butter or margarine
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, for brushing

1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded, and finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 can of peas (optional)
Handful of green or black olives, finely sliced
6 tbsp parsley
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp white flour

Pastry: Put the flour, salt, and butter or margarine in a bowl. Mix well until it resembles breadcrumbs. Lightly beat the egg yolk and water together and add, a little at a time, to the flour and butter mix. Mix well until the pastry just holds together. It is ok if it crumbly, this pastry is supposed to be crumbly. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge, lightly dust a worktop with flour and roll out the pastry. Leave the pastry relatively thick. Grease a muffin tin and put the pastry in the muffin forms. Cut rounds for the top of the pies.

Filling: In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until soft, but not browning. Add the garlic and leave to fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato and fry for a approximately 5-8 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the flour and mix well. Pour in the chicken broth a little at a time until you have a thick mixture. You do not want the filling to be too runny. Add the parsley, olives, and salt to taste. Leave to cool.

Assembling: Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Once the filling is slightly cool spoon into the prepared muffin tins. Close the pies with the prepared pastry tops. Seal well and brush with egg yolk. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Chicken PieComments
> For the chicken I like to boil it in water using my pressure cooker. This usually takes about 30 minutes.
> I use the stock from the chicken instead of store bought stock.
> You can also freeze these after baking to eat at a later time!
> If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making all the small empadinha’s you can make this into one large pie, just use a large pie dish!

For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!

Recipe helpers: