Feijoada, Brazilian Black Bean Stew

Hank introduced me to this Brazilian black bean stew a couple months ago and I couldn’t stop eating it. It is outstanding. And perfect for the chilly weather we’re having these days. ~Elise

This is another of those big, hearty, meat-and-bean stews that seem to be the national dish of one country or another. In this case, the country is Brazil and the stew is feijoada (fay-ZHWA-dah). Feijoada has as many versions as there are cooks, but in Brazil it almost always has black beans and always has a mixture of salted, smoked and fresh meats.

Some versions are a little spicy from the sausages, others totally mild. Some people’s feijoada are thick “eat-it-with-a-fork” versions, others, like this one, more like a traditional stew. Either way it’s traditional to serve this stew with white rice, and maybe some sautéed collard greens.

One common ingredient is carne seca, a salted, dried beef often available in Latin markets. Corned beef is a decent substitute for carne seca, and it is what we use here in this recipe. As for the other meats, they should be a mix of pork and beef, with a little heavier on the pork. Authentic feijoada has all sorts of bits in it, such as tails, trotters, ears, etc. This version, however, sticks to the sort of meats found in a typical American supermarket.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 5 hours
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12.

Black beans are a must in this recipe if you want it to be authentically Brazilian. A Portuguese version uses white beans, however.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 grams) dry black beans
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound (450 grams) pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound (450 grams) carne seca or corned beef, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) fresh sausages, such as chorizo or Italian sausage
  • 1 pound (450 grams) smoked sausage, such as linguica or kielbasa
  • 1 smoked ham hock or shank
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • Water
  • 1 14.5 ounce can (411 grams) of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt

Method

1 Pour boiling water over the black beans and let them sit while you prepare the rest of the stew.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder. When it has browned, remove the meat from the pot, set aside and add the onions to the pot. Brown them, stirring occasionally, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions and add the garlic. Stir well and sauté 2 more minutes.

3 Add back the pork shoulder, and the other meats and add enough water to cover. Add the bay leaves, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 1 hour. Drain the black beans from their soaking liquid and add them to the stew. Simmer gently, covered, until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half.

4 Add the tomatoes, stir well and taste for salt, adding if it's needed. Simmer this, uncovered, until the meat begins to fall off the ham hock, which will probably take 2-3 hours.

Serve with white rice and hot sauce. A classic side dish would be sautéed collard greens.

Main Ingredients

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