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.

Feijoada, Brazilian Black Bean Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 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.

Links:

Vegetarian Feijoada with Portobello Mushrooms - from The Taste Space
Feijoada with Bacon and Beef Rump - from Ramblings from a Gypsy Soul
Portuguese Feijoada with White Beans - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

36 Comments

  1. laloca

    Feijoada has as many versions as there are cooks, but in Brazil it always has black beans and always has a mixture of salted, smoked and fresh meats.

    that’s incorrect. in the northeast of Brasil, feijoada is made with “feijao mulatinho,” or brown beans. recipes for this type of feijoada abound on the internet.

    Huh. I have never come across a feijoada with brown beans, but I will take your word for it. Either way, it will be good. Personally, I make this Portuguese style, with white beans. ~Hank

  2. Marcio T

    Hi Elise!
    I once requested a feijoada recipe; I am so glad you had a chance to make one. I am from Brasil myself, and I love feijoada. Besides collard greens (called couve-manteiga), another yummy side dish is farofa. I am looking forward for a farofa recipe!
    Thanks,
    Marcio T

  3. islandexile

    I’ve been enjoying feijoada since the 60s. With the additions suggested above, the capirinha(s), farofa, couve, orange slices, and also molho de pimenta e limao (a sauce of peppers & lime). I’ve seen it become “refined” – eliminating the tail, ears, etc. The last time we were in Brasil, it was a struggle to have one. When we finally did, every last drop of fat had been removed and much of the flavor as a consequence. It is one of my very favorite meals in the world. And it requires a nap afterwards. Thanks Hank. I’m happy to have your recipe!

  4. Tres Amie

    I get great dried beef at my local Amish market. It is somewhat leathery, deep red-brown, incredibly salty and sliced paper thin. It’s the type that creamed chipped beef is made with. Do you think this might sub for the carne seca?

    You bet! ~Hank

  5. Aqui na Cozinha - Patty Martins

    Hi Elise
    Really Feijoada is a typical dish here in Brazil and is always served with collard greens, manioc flour, white rice, fresh oranges and caipirinha (lime drink and cachaça). Kisses

    Patty Martins
    Brazil

  6. Three-Cookies

    I am wondering whether corned beef is a good substitute for carne seca (dried beef). Corned beef will completely disintegrate after 2-3 hours of cooking and may not impart the flavour that carne seca would. Beef jerky will work well instead I suppose.

    Nope, the corned beef does not disintegrate. But yes, if you can find a neutral beef jerky, that would work, too. ~Hank

  7. Jim Price

    A traditional accompaniment for feijoada – farofa:

    1 large onion, finely chopped
    8 tablespoons of butter
    1 tablespoon palm oil
    2 cups manioc flour
    Salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 cup chopped black olives (optional)
    1/2 cup diced hard boiled egg (optional)

    1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.

    2. Add the onions and cook until very soft and golden, about 10 minutes.

    3. Stir in the manioc flour and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 more minutes until well mixed and evenly toasted.

    4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in optional balck olives and/or hard boiled eggs if desired.

    Thanks for the farofa recipe! Yes, it is very traditional to eat with feijoada. ~Hank

  8. Dawn

    Hi Elise, I read your posts every morning while getting ready for work. Can this recipe be adapted for the slow cooker? Thanks!

    I am sure it can be done in a slow cooker, but I wouldn’t know where to start – I don’t own one. ~Hank

  9. alex

    This sounds like a delicious recipe, totally looking forward to making it. I do have one small question: If you cook the beans for an hour and a half til they’re tender and then simmer the stew for another 2-3 hours for the meat to get fully tender, how do the beans wind up not being cooked to mush? Does something about adding the tomatoes arrest their cooking? Thanks!

    Yep. Once you add the tomatoes, the sugar and acid in them will keep the beans from turning to mush. ~Hank

  10. Brian

    Saw the pork shoulder, then noticed the smoked ham hock and I thought to myself – “hey, I have some smoked pulled pork in the freezer. That would substitute nicely!” Since this dish seems to be all about personalizing to fit ones tastes (and pantry), andouille might be a nice fit for the smoked sausage as well.

    Guess what’s for dinner Saturday?

  11. David

    I am an Israeli who lives in New York and has a Carioca ( Rio de janeiro) heart.
    I visit Brasil 10 times a year, and have tasted many a versions of this popular dish.
    This recipe seems perfect, light and easy, without all the strange cuts of meat sometimes used, it reminds me of a version a friend of mine in Sao Paulo makes which is my favorite.
    By the way, I love your blog, it is on top of MY YAHOO page, so I visit often, and it does feel like visiting family, thank you for sharing!

  12. Lulu

    Great recipe for feijoada! Hope everyone tries it! Farofa is my favorite! My mom recently cooked a Brazilian meal for my American boyfriend and he took one look into the pot of farofa and whispered to me, “what is that…sand??” lmao

  13. Maureen

    Many, many years ago our family moved to Brazil for about 7 years and I fell in love with feijoada. Our next door neighbors had a pot slowly simmering on the back burner always filled with feijoada. I do not remember it ever being empty as it was continuously refilled with more beans, meats, etc. The white rice was prepared with sauteed onions and garlic. Sometimes one tomato was added to the rice. Sometimes it was topped with sliced oranges or a fried egg. It is still my comfort food of choice. The magazine Fine Cooking came out with an excellent recipe several years ago. I think it is still available on line.

  14. sean

    This sounds perfect for a super bowl party! Should the sausage be cut up into chunks before adding? Or will they break up on their own after a few hours?

    Cut them into big chunks, like maybe 3 per link. ~Hank

  15. mantha

    Beautiful! Back home in Rhode Island, I think we would be using chourico. What’s that pretty garnish on top — green onion and parsley?

    Green onion and cilantro. Parsley would be good, too. ~Hank

  16. Arthur

    I love the sound of this recipe. This would make amazing comfort food. Currently on a low carb diet, but this should fit in well as long as I leave out the rice. I was thinking about making some beef jerky in the food dehydrator to substitute for the carne seca. Thanks.

  17. Tony in Roanoke

    I first sampled feijoada working in a Brazilian restaurant in Roanoke and have been a fan of it since. The blend of flavors just sets your taste buds off. Thanks for the recipe.

  18. Mary

    I’m from Brazil, and to eat a good feijoada you should com here! I don’t think any recipe, made with american ingredients and everything is as good as the real Brazilian feijoda
    By the way, today we had feijoada for lunch :)

  19. Ester

    Honestly I’ve never seen a feijoada with brown beans, as laloca mentions. I’ve seen it with white beans sometimes, but black ones are majority.
    Nevertheless, great recipe. I love the tails and ears, but I’m one of the few.

  20. Anna

    Hey, I love your blog. I am as Brazilian as a good’ol Carioca interpretation of feijoada, and I am surprised by the presence of tomatoes in this recipe. Sounds like a fusion! Also, just a tip: try the Silva Linguiça or Chorizo ( widely available here at the Californian mainstream groceries). It will give you a very similar- original yummyness to it! And don’t forget the bottled pimenta malagueta!

    Definitely not fusion. This recipe is an amalgam of several I’ve received from my Brazilian friends. I am totally with you on the pimenta malagueta, though! ~Hank

  21. Christina STone

    My husband had a similar dish in Brazil and tried to describe it to me so I could make it, but this was it. He was tickled and gave it a very high rating on the taste scale, and we enjoyed that it probably isn’t very fattening-even though I used bacon drippings. It makes a huge batch so we’ll probably only make it a couple times a year. Wonder how often families tend to have it in Brazil?

  22. John Peters

    @Elizabeth: I agree that black beans is better to use than white beans. I love experimenting and tried this with both black and white beans and all I can say is that black beans is more flavorful!

  23. Manny

    In Orlando theres a brazilian supermarket that sells everything you need in a feijoada, the sausages , carne seca, payo and everything else. we usually have toucinho with it as well!! hmmm this is definetely making me home sick!

  24. nunja

    Great recipes here. May I ask what is manoic flour & where can I find it?

    Manioc flour is made from a cassava tuber, like potato flour. As for where to find it, tough to say. Online definitely, but you could try in Latin or Caribbean markets if you have some near you. ~Hank

  25. Theresa

    WOW! Im always looking for a way to keep dinner fresh and fun.. This one did the trick for the entire family! What a nice treat! Thanks!

  26. Mary Morris

    I made mine with pork shoulder meat, corned beef, chorizo, ham shanks and hot linguica. I love the deep, rich flavor, but I needed to skim off lots of glossy orange fat rendered from the sausages. I left a little bit. Paper towels are the best for that. Also I won’t add any salt next time, there’s plenty of salt in the meat and I’m a salt freak. – Mary

  27. Jenn

    Hi Elise, thank you for this recipe and the link to the vegetarian version. I’m going to try it this weekend and incorporating some portobello mushroom in it (we don’t eat a lot of meat so I’ll reduce the meat in it). Am excited to try it!

  28. Debora

    I think it’s great to see Americans making and loving feijoada. I’m from Brazil and of course I love it! But i gotta say that there are no tomatoes whatsoever In the traditional feijoada, only the meats, beans, garlic, onions and seasonings like bay leaves, salt…
    I’m not saying it would taste bad, it would be great, but it’s not THE Original Brazilian Feijoada.
    Xoxo

  29. bing

    greetings from alaska. i made feijoada for a family dinner at christmas last year cause we wanted to try something different instead of the usual ham & turkey – my parents and aunt loved it!

  30. Mary Morris

    I’ve now made this stew 3 times, and vary the meat each time. I followed the recipe to a T the first time I made it but realized that I don’t have to buy all of the cuts of meat & sausage listed on the recipe. I use a big meaty ham bone, add a lb of hot Italian sausage or chorizo and a full 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. It’s still lick the bowl clean delicious, “I’m full but I can’t stop eating” good. It freezes well, too. Thanks Hank for your great recipes, and thank you too, Elise for having him contribute to your excellent website.

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