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.
Everyone enjoyed this meal, even my father, which was fantastic! I think I possibly let too much of the liquid boil out as my stew was quite thick but tasty nonetheless and I loved how the vinaigrette cut through the richness of the stew and was the perfect accompaniment! I made a few adjustments along the way, breadcrumbs instead of flour in the farofa, chorizo instead of bacon in that too as I forgot to reserve any bacon from the stew! I also didn't use tomatoes in the vinagrete as a couple of people couldn't eat them. I didn't make the rice as we had more than enough to go round without it.
For my meats I used chorizo, smoked pork sausage, pork leg steak and a gammon steak and pancetta instead of bacon.
My photo taking is a little haphazard and towards the end I totally forgot to pick up the camera, I was trying to make Apple Butter at the same time, but it's all made from scratch I promise!
2 cups (500 ml) (½ kg) (1 lb) dried black beans (produces about 6 cups of cooked beans)
350 gm (12 oz) chunk bacon (half will be used in the farofa)
Around 1 kilogram (2 pounds) of mixed meats, I used:
150 gm (5 oz) linguiça calabresa (smoked pork sausage)
200 gm (7 oz) paio (smoked pork loin sausage)
500 gm (18 oz) salted pork ribs
150 gm (5 oz) pernil (fresh ham, pork thigh)
4 bay leaves
3 tablespoons (15 ml) onion-garlic base (see recipe below)
Wash thoroughly, put in a (5 litre) 5 quart (or bigger) pot, fill with water so that water is twice as high as the beans. Bring to a boil, let boil for a minute, turn off and cover. Let soak for an hour.
After an hour, uncover. The beans will have soaked up the water and doubled in size. Add another 1-2 liters (4 -8 cups) of water so the beans are completely covered, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for an hour or so, until the beans have softened, but are still firm.
Add more water if it boils down below the beans, if you do this, remember to bring it back to a boil and turn down the heat to simmer.
While the beans are soaking and cooking, you can first prepare the onion-garlic base, the recipe is below, and then the meats.
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. Divide your ribs into pieces that will at least fit into your pot, the size is your choice.
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. You want around a ¼ cup (60 ml) of grease, cover your pan well. Take out the piece of bacon fat after enough fat as liqudified and put aside for later, in case you need more. I needed it for the ribs.
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 sausages, the pork, the ribs, and any other meat.
Really make sure each piece of meat is well sealed and cooked through, the bacon and sausage took about 5 minutes, the pork around 10, and the ribs around 15. Make sure that you have plenty of fat in the pan to fry the ribs so they cook through.
When the beans have cooked to the point of being softened but still firm and your onion-garlic base and meats are ready, you can continue.
Add to the beans 3 tablespoons of the onion-garlic base, 4 bay leaves, and your meat. Add enough water to make sure everything is just covered.
Continue simmering until beans are done, which took me another 2 hours. 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, for the first hour you should keep the water level to just the top of everything, but not completely covered. But 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.
This is enough for later use as well, if you want, you can halve the recipe.
2 medium white onions
4 large cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) salt
You want a paste, roughly chop the onions and garlic, then puree everything in a food processor or blender.
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
1/2 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.
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, 2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz), 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
To go with feijoada you need collard greens, it’s a perfect combination. You can chop these now, but cook them last, right before serving.
Wash 4 collard leaves, cut out the stem, and cut in half.
Stack all the halves on top of each other and tightly roll them up together.
Keep a good hold to keep everything together and start slicing very thin through the tube to get nice fine slices of collards.
When everything else is ready to serve, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over med-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of onion-garlic base, and let soften for a minute. Add all the collards at once, and stir to coat with oil.
You can add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for only about a minute, you just want to them to start to soften, evenly, over quick high heat. And done.