Feijoada, Brazilian Black Bean Stew

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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

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  • 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.

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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

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Showing 4 of 38 Comments

  • Charles

    Can this be done in a single pot? Like, why not brown the meat and veggies, add dry beans, and add enough water to cover it, cooking until beans and meat are done?

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

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