Witches Brew edition of Brazilian Black Bean Stew, known as feijoada. (Photo by Luciana Schrader / cookingbrasil.com)

Black bean stew, known in Portuguese as “Feijoada,” is a hearty combination of several different pieces of beef and pork meat cooked with black beans. It is usually served with white rice, finely shredded collard greens, orange slices and garnished with tomato vinaigrette.

There are different views about the origin of this dish. The popular view is that slaves, brought to Brazil by the Portuguese during colonial times, created the dish. They used discarded meat, like the ribs and pigs feet, once they served the good parts to slave owners. The meat was cooked in with the beans in a big iron pot.

Some historians have said that “Feijoada” is a variation of other European dishes that combine beans and meat, like the “Cassoulet,” which combines meat with white beans –substituted for the black beans found in South America.

There has been many changes to the classic recipe for “Feijoada” and lighter versions are popular without the pigs feet and other unwanted parts. In my recipe, I only use short ribs, chicken sausage and lean ready cooked bacon.

For our Halloween special edition, we made eyeballs with pickled red pepper, sour cream and olives to look creepy. It is totally optional.

REQUIRED FEIJOADA INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of dry black beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6 pieces of short ribs
  • 1 package of 4 smoked chicken sausages cut into thick slices
  • 6 slices smoked ready bacon cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
  2. Place the beans, water, salt, bay leaves, onion powder and garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds. This should take approximately 15 minutes.

Note: You can use a crock-pot if you don’t have a pressure cooker. Start the cooking process the night before. Place beans, water, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion powder and bay leaves in the crock-pot at medium heat and let it cook overnight. In the morning, add hot water if necessary and turn heat to high. Let it slow cook until beans are tender; and then proceed to cook meat and follow the same steps.

  1. Turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 1 hour.
  2. Turn off the heat and let the pressure built cook for 30 minutes. Don’t open the pressure cooker until all steam is completely out.
  3. Drizzle some olive oil in a crock-pot and transfer the beans into it from the pressure cooker.
  4. Cover the crock-pot, turn heat to medium and let it slow incorporate flavor.
  5. Drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Brown the short ribs and chicken slices.
  6. Cover and let it all cook until the balsamic becomes a glaze.
  7. Add bacon and the browned meats from Step 7 to the crock-pot. Turn heat to high and let it cook until beans are bubbly. If beans are too thick, add a cup of hot water.

REQUIRED VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • Dash salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

TO PREPARE:

Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.

Luciana Schrader adapted the common Brazilian stew into her own recipe for her blog, cookingbrasil.com.