A delicious dish to celebrate the 2016 Olympics in Rio, my Easy Brazilian Feijoada is packed with wonderful Brazilian flavours, but takes much less time and effort than the classic version, and is served with a simple and refreshing Orange and Tomato Salsa – a nod to the more traditional accompaniment of orange slices.
So, who is getting excited about the Olympics in Rio this year? We are all super excited in the Gargano household. I always enjoy watching the Olympics – it’s such fun! But I am even more excited this year, as I have recently taken up running – not that I would dream of comparing myself to the Olympians!!! But I always think it is more fun watching a sport, when you actually do the sport yourself, however inexpertly!
But even more exciting than the sport is the food!! This Olympics is taking place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, which has given me the perfect excuse to find out a bit more about Brazilian food. (I will take any excuse to gawp at pictures of food on Instagram, Pinterest et al.) In my extensive research (!) I discovered that Brazil, like so many countries, does not have one national cuisine as such, but rather is a melting pot of many different cuisines, largely influenced by the different nationalities of those who have migrated and settled in Brazil over the years. However, the dish most commonly considered Brazil’s national dish is Feijoada.
Feijoada (pronounced fey-JWAH-duh, according to the internet), is a slow cooked stew of black beans and various kinds of meat and sausage, traditionally served with white rice and orange slices.
I have looked at many traditional recipes for Feijoada and, though the ingredients vary, what they all seem to have in common is they are all rather complicated and time-consuming. Which is hardly surprising since, apparently Feijoada is a celebratory dish, typically served on Sunday afternoons and is meant to be a leisurely affair eaten with friends and family, not a rushed midweek meal. Well, much as I love meals like that, it’s not something I usually have time for, nor would it really fit in on Easy Peasy Foodie, so I set about creating a simplified version that would be easy enough to do midweek, but delicious enough to be served for a family celebration – I do like to set myself challenges!!
And this is what I have come up with…a simple one pot stew of belly pork, black beans and smoked chorizo. I’ve also added in a tin of tomatoes, some sweet potato and a red pepper – partly to lighten, what would otherwise be quite a heavy stew (it is summer after all!), but also to add in some extra nutrition and deliciousness. And, anyway, in some regions of Brazil, apparently it is typical to add veggies into the feijoada, so I’m not going completely off piste!
In fact, the addition of veggies makes this stew very easy to adapt if you need to make a vegetarian version – just do everything the same as the recipe below, but lose the meat and add in an extra pepper, a bit more sweet potato and another tin of beans – perhaps something different, pinto beans would be nice for contrast, or maybe black eyed peas – and you will have yourself a fantastic veggie, and indeed vegan, feijoada, still packed with flavour and deliciousness!!
I’ve served my version of feijoada with rice, as is traditional – but I’ve chosen brown rice, as I love the flavour and it is more nutritious than white rice, but white rice would go brilliantly with this too. The other traditional accompaniment to feijoada is oranges, but I decided to adapt this slightly and create a little orange and tomato salsa, which works fantastically to cut through the richness of the stew…and then I threw in a few orange slices to the mix too, as I knew the kids would love them! (And they did!)
I really wanted to find a Brazilian wine to go with my version of feijoada. I think Brazil could safely be described as ‘up and coming’, as far as wine regions are concerned, and as a consequence I had to search quite hard to find a Brazilian wine in the supermarkets, even in the run up to the Rio Olympics!! I found one in Marks and Spencer’s: a red made from the Teroldego grape (no I hadn’t heard of it either), and a couple in Waitrose: a Chardonnay and a Merlot. I discounted the Chardonnay, as I thought a red would be better suited to this robust meat based stew, but the other two I thought might work.
My husband and I had great fun trying both wines with the stew, and while we thought they were both great wines, we both felt the Waitrose Brazilian Merlot was the best partner to the feijoada by quite a way: its juicy, fruity, easy drinking style, with flavours of plum and cherry and just a hint of smokiness, was the perfect partner for this smoky, meaty stew, whereas the slightly bitter blackberry and liquorice flavours of the Terroldego were a little overwhelming – we felt it would be more suited to a steak, beef stew or even a vintage cheddar.
If you want a wine to serve with this stew, but don’t fancy the trek to M&S or Waitrose – try a Merlot from Chile or Argentina instead. Or if you are in full on Brazil mode you could always go for the traditional Brazilian cocktail: caipirinha. Not convinced it would go with the feijoada, mind…but it would make a fab aperitif whilst you are cooking it!!
Easy Brazilian Feijoada with Orange and Tomato Salsa
For the Easy Brazilian Feijoada
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 400 g good-quality belly pork cut into 1cm wide pieces
- 1½ red onions diced
- 3 garlic cloves diced, divided
- 200 g smoked chorizo chopped into 1cm chunks (unsmoked chorizo be fine too)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or normal paprika if you don’t have smoked
- 800 g black beans drained
- 1 red pepper cut into bitesize pieces
- 500 g sweet potato in 1cm cubes
- 400 ml tin chopped tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh coriander
For the Orange and Tomato Salsa
- ½ red onion finely diced
- 100 g baby plum tomatoes or similar
- 1 orange diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- Salt and pepper
- 200 g brown rice or white rice
- Orange wedges optional
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large casserole on a medium-high heat, add the chunks of pork belly and fry for 10 minutes, or until golden.
- Turn the heat down low, add the diced red onion and put the lid on. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are soft.
- Next add the garlic, chorizo, bay leaves and paprika and cook for a further minute with the lid off.
- Then add the beans into the pan along with the chopped pepper, sweet potato cubes and the tin of tomatoes, plus a little salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then cook on a low heat for 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally, and topping up with a little water, if needed, to stop the stew going dry.
- While the stew is cooking, make the salsa – simply combine all the ingredients and scatter with a few more coriander leaves. Set aside to allow the flavours to develop.
- Finally cook the rice according to pack instructions – usually about 20 minutes. Then serve everything on the table for people to help themselves. And don’t forget to open a bottle of that delicious Waitrose Brazilian Merlot!
Pin Easy Brazilian Feijoada with Orange and Tomato Salsa for later
What about you? Are you getting excited about the Olympics? Are you going to be cooking or drinking anything Brazilian to celebrate?