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Get Smart...Eat More Dry Beans
January 17, 2006

Brazilian Feijoada:  (fayjwada) pork including feet and ears, beef tongue, bacon, sausage over seasoned black beans, rice; hubbard squash, and oranges.  Feijoada  comes from the Portuguese word feijão for beans.

Feijoada has been listed in Northarvests teaching unit under bean dishes from around the world but I had never made it.  I went on the Internet to research feijoada and found both stories about its origin and recipes.

It is a traditional Portuguese, Brazilian dish.  In
Portugal red or white beans are used.  In Brazil black beans are used and it is referred to as the national dish.  Both use a variety of pork products.  Traditional Brazilians use every part of the pig including the ears, tail and snout, which they say, will upset gringos if they see them floating in the feijoada.  Sounds reasonable to me!

It is a rich, heavy dish that is usually eaten at
noon and, ideally, a nap follows.  Everyone seems to agree that the real dish takes at least a morning or even better, all day to make and eating it should be an occasion for celebration, preferably weekly.  Brazilians serve this dish with a lime cocktail, white rice, toasted cassava flour (farofa) sprinkled over the top, sautéed greens, orange slices and light beer.

Some of the references had the same thought that I did.  They found similarities between feijoada and the French cassoulet.  Both vary from region to region and bake a combination of meats for a long time to achieve wonderful flavor.

The versions that I used, from Diet for a Small Planet by F.M. Lappe, are both vegetarian recipes.  If you want a full meat version of feijoada, there are many on the Internet.  I tried both vegetarian versions; one from the first edition of the book and a later, more complicated one that F.M. Lappe says, a Brazilian friend embellished for this edition.  The orange gives the seasoned black beans a wonderful flavor.  The seasoning for the beans might vary according to your familys taste.  Consider substituting squash for the sweet potato and include other vegetables you prefer.  Leave out the green pepper and tomato since they are not mentioned in any of the full meat recipes.  The current information did not mention using hubbard squash.  When I first researched this dish in cookbooks and talked to former Peace Corps volunteers, several years ago, squash was included in the meal description.

I like the second recipe because it has a fuller flavor.  Choose the one that fits your taste and time constraints.  And serve it with pork sausage or chops if you are not a vegetarian. 

Simple Feijoada

Ingredients (8-1/2 cup servings):

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

1 cup dry black beans
3 cups stock

1 bay leaf
black pepper

2 stalks chopped celery
1 chopped tomato

1 whole orange


Chop onion and mince garlic. Saute in a medium-sized, heavy

pot.  Add black beans and stock, bay leaf, black pepper and celery.

Simmer, covered, several hours until beans are tender.  Or pressure cook 2  4 minutes. Let pressure drop of its own accord. This will take approximately 20 minutes.

Wash and cut orange with peel into small pieces or chop in processor. Add orange and tomato to beans and simmer 1 or 2 hours.  Or pressure cook again, 10 minutes.  Let pressure drop of its own accord.

For a thicker stew, remove ½ cup of beans and mash. Return to pot, stir and serve hot with brown rice, sautéed greens and bacon, top with orange slices.

Vegetarian Feijoada

Ingredients (12-1/2 cup servings):

1 cup dry black beans
3 cups stock

1 bay leaf
black pepper

1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion

2 cloves garlic
2 green onions

1 green pepper, cleaned
2 stalks celery

1 carrot
½ sweet potato, peeled

1 whole orange
1 teaspoon cilantro or ½ cup wine
½ teaspoon cumin
½ cup fresh or canned tomato


Combine black beans, stock, bay leaf and black pepper in a large, heavy pot. Simmer 1 to 2 hours, until beans are tender. Or pressure cook 2  4 minutes.  Let pressure drop of its own accord.

Heat a large skillet, add oil. Chop vegetables in a processor or with a knife and cutting board. Add vegetables as they are cut up. Stir and cook until soft.

Add sautéed vegetables, to the bean pot. Wash and cut orange with peel into small pieces, or chop in processor. Add orange, cumin, tomato and wine. Simmer 1  3 hours. Or use a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time.

Combine the cooked beans, vegetables, orange, cumin, tomato and wine. Pressure cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the pressure drop of its own accord, about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with brown rice and greens. Top with orange slices.



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