By Ezra Klein
I’ve really been falling down on the food blogging front recently. Evidence of that is this recipe: It’s from February 5th. The Washington Post called it “Brazilian stew” when they profiled the Internet Food Association. But it’s more widely-known as feijoada, the black bean stew that’s commonly considered Brazil’s national dish.
The secret to a good feijoada has less to do with cooking than gathering. In my case, the key was discovering the charming Brazilian market is Wheaton, Maryland. That’s where I found carne seca, the salted, cured beef that’s so key to a good feijoada. I also got Portuguese sausage, smoked pork loin, farofa, and the Brazilian bon-bons my grandmother used to give me. From there, the cooking was trivial. You’ll need:
• Two pounds carne seca, soaked overnight in three changes of water to de-salt. (Some people sub corned beef or bacon if there’s no carne seca around.)
• Two pounds Portuguese sausage. (Could sub Chorizo here.)
• Two pounds smoked pork loin. (Could sub lots of things here.)
• Eight cups dried black beans, soaked overnight.
• Four bay leaves.
• Six dried red chiles.
• One large onion.
• Six cloves garlic.
Soak beans overnight in a large bowl. The water should cover them by a good three or four inches. Drain them. Transfer to a large stockpot with water that covers them by three inches. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cut all the meats into one-inch pieces. When the beans boil, add the cuts meats, the chiles, and the bay leaves. Simmer for two hours. Longer, of course, is fine. Stir occasionally so the beans don’t burn.
After the stew is cooked through and the beans are soft, dice your garlic and onion. Heat some olive oil in a saute pan and cook until the garlic is golden brown. Add two ladles of the beans and mash them together with the onions and garlic. Add this back into the stew to thicken it. Serve with Brazilian rice, orange slices, and farofa. A green salad couldn’t hurt, either. Serves 8-10, and makes the Brazilian side of your family proud.
(Recipe adapted from Maria Brazil.)