Brasil has been on my mind a lot as of late but especially its warm temperatures and beautiful beaches. While there are other countries I would like to visit before Brasil, the fact that there’s only a two hour time difference (as opposed to the 12 hour time difference between Pittsburgh and Vietnam, a country high at the top of my bucket list) definitely make it mighty tempting (I abhor jet lag like the plague). I’ve also always been hugely mesmerized by the country’s most iconic sight-Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), that and Iguaçu Falls (I have a penchant for waterfalls). I have no idea where my travels will take me in coming years but for now where Brasil is concerned, I travel there through its food.
In all the years I’ve been cooking “ethnic” and subsequently blogging about it, I don’t believe I’ve ever made any Brasilian dishes. I certainly like Brasilian food although I still feel stuffed when I think about my never-ending meat fest at Fogo de Chão so I’m not sure why I had never made any items until this past weekend.
As it’s winter (single digits temperature winter) here in Pittsburgh and the “parilla” (grill) is not an option, I decided to make more cold weather comfort food, Brasilian style. I made Pão de queijo which is addicting cheese bread for lack of a better description (and what you will get at any churrascaria-post on this coming soon) and feijoada, traditional Brasilian stew. It contains black beans, sauteed onions and garlic, and a lot of different meats. As I said, just the type of food you will want to feast on when it’s 5 degrees outside and you’re in your fleece attire ensemble.
While I had originally planned on sticking to traditional recipes I had stumbled across, I decided they were much too time consuming and also required more ingredients than I necessarily wanted to get. My version is probably not too authentic but I was still pleased with the end result not to mention it was incredibly simple to make.
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large saucepan
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
3 decent size boneless, skinless pork ribs, cut into pieces
8 ounces of smoked bacon, cut into big chunks (this will be about half of a standard size bacon package)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
Cooked rice, orange slices, as accompaniment
-Heat a very large saucepan and pour in the olive oil so that it coats the bottom. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add the ribs and bacon, pepper, and bay leaves. Pour in the beans and add roughly a cup of water. Simmer for about 1 hour.
-Serve the feijoada with white rice and slices of orange.
Yield: Enough for two people plus some leftovers