As interesting as this months challenge was, I found it to be quite difficult. The challenge comes from Rachel, one of our non-blogging members, to make a complete Feijoada meal. Feijoada is a famous Brazilian black bean stew filled with meat, mostly pork parts. The other elements of the meal include farofa, vinaigrette, collard greens, and white rice, along with the traditional orange slices that accompany the meal for ease of digestion. I’ve never heard of any of these recipes before. Farofa is a toasted mandioca/yucca flour dish, fried up in a skillet with a variety of other ingredients ranging anywhere from banana to onion to bacon. Since mandioca/yucca flour is hard to find, a lot of people substitute with bread crumbs or panko. The vinaigrette is basically a chopped, fresh vegetable salsa. And the collards are simply sautéed in a garlic-onion base. There were so many complex elements to this meal that I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull them all off. Not only because of the time and the expense, but simply because I knew I would never be able to eat that much and I hate when I waste food (which happens more than I like to admit).
To keep things easy on myself, I decided to prepare just the Feijoada portion instead of the entire meal. And since I am not a huge meat eater, I found a vegetarian recipe online. I changed it up quite a bit though. Citrus flavors aren’t really my favorite thing to mix with savory dishes, especially in such large quantities, so I kept them out of the recipe entirely. Everything else I kept pretty similar to the recipe I found.
I used dried black beans, brining them overnight in 2 quarts of water plus 1 tablespoon of salt. They cooked to perfect tenderness and thickened the soup nicely with their starch. And from what I gather about Feijoada, that’s what your end goal is- a nice thick stew. I ended up with something that looked and tasted a lot like a vegetarian chili to me (without the chili powder). It was very good and I enjoyed it a lot, especially considering the non-healthy food binge I have been on lately- this really helped to curve that!
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 medium-size jalopeno pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
- ½ cup coarsely chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight in 2 quarts water dissolved with 1 Tb salt
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 tsp molasses
- salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Saute onion, green pepper, red pepper, jalopeno, and celery together until tender and beginning to brown.
- Add spices and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add the beans and return to a boil again. Add 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
- Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and stew is nice and thick, 2 to 3 hours. Stir in molasses. Season with salt and pepper.