Feijoada “Lite” with Brazilian Rice

In Brazilian homes with maids, Feijoada Completa is served at least once a week. Traditionally, the dish requires at least two days preparation time (for soaking beans and salted pigs ears and tails). But for Brazilians who don’t have domestic help, it’s acceptable to make a more basic version of this bean and pork stew. This recipe is quick and easy, but retains all the savory flavor of classic feijoada.

Wine recommendation: "This is a strong, savory and fatty dish," says de Morais. "A sparkling red wine, like Rio Sol Rouge Espumante Brut, works well with feijoada. The tannins complement the savory flavor, and the sparkling part helps with digestion." While this Brazilian wine is an excellent choice, it can be difficult to source. It’s very similar to an Australian Sparkling Shiraz, which is more accessible in the U.S. Try Schild Estate 2004 Sparkling Shiraz (Barossa).

  • For the feijoada:
  • 3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large can (1 pound) black beans
  • 6 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 pound good-quality boneless pork, cut into large cubes
  • 5 strips bacon
  • 3/4 pound any kind of pork sausage (hot sausage works very well)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 orange, for garnish
  • For the rice:
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups water

To make the feijoada: In a large saucepan, cook onion, 2 cloves of garlic, oil, beans, bay leaves and a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly. With the back of a spoon, mash about a quarter of the beans against side of pot to thicken the mixture.

In a large frying pan, fry pork cubes, bacon, remaining garlic and a pinch of salt over medium-high heat, until pork is cooked through but still tender.

While pork is cooking, fry sausages in another pan until fully cooked (be sure sausages are piping hot throughout).

Cut sausage into 1/4 inch slices. Add to pork/bacon mixture, and mix together for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add all meat to bean mixture. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes to mix all flavors. The texture should be thick and creamy. If mixture is too thick, add 1/4 cup water. If too thin, mash more of the beans and stir into mixture.

Add cilantro, and remove from heat.

To make the rice: Fry the garlic with oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until soft, but not brown. Add the rice and stir quickly in the pan for about two minutes, until the rice looks translucent, but not brown.

Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the water is absorbed.

Serve the feijoada and the rice side-by-side on the plate, and add a thick slice of orange, cut in half, for real authenticity and delicious complementing flavor.

Published on July 6, 2010