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Recipe for Brazilian Feijoada

In honor of our radio broadcast this weekend from Samba Grill in downtown Houston, we offer our version of Brazil’s national dish.

2 cups (1 pound) black beans, rinsed and picked over

3/4 pound pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat

6 ounces slab bacon

1/2 pound smoked pork sausages

1/2 pound hot Portuguese sausage such as linguica

1 or 2 pounds ham hock or shank, cut into 1-inch rounds

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 to 4 ounces dried beef carne seca, minced (optional; see Note)

Seasonings:

3 garlic cloves, minced and sauteed in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

6 green onions, including tops, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

Large handful of chopped fresh parsley (about 1/2 cup)

2 bay leaves, crumbled

1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano, crushed

Salt and ground black pepper

Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley 

Soak the black beans overnight in water to cover by several inches. Drain. Place the drained black beans in a saucepan and add water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Add additional water as needed to keep the beans covered. While the black beans are cooking, prepare the meats. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Dice the pork butt or shoulder and the bacon into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the pork, whole sausages, and bacon in a large baking pan. Roast until well done. The sausages will be ready after 35 to 40 minutes and the other meats after 45 to 60 minutes.

Cook the ham hock at the same time as the meats are roasting. In a saucepan, combine the ham hock rounds and onion with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 1 hour. Remove the ham hock rounds from the water and remove the meat from the bones, if desired; set aside. Or leave the rounds intact for serving alongside the black beans. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl. Add the strained onions from the liquid to the beans. Add the cooking liquid to the beans if needed to keep them immersed.

Once the black beans are almost cooked, check to make sure there is plenty of cooking liquid in the pot. It should be rather soupy at this point. Stir in the beef carne seca. Cut the sausages into rounds and add them and all the other cooked meats to the pot. Then add all of the seasonings to the pot, including salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the beans are very tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley just before serving.

NOTE: Using dried beef adds complexity to the richness of this dish, but its inclusion is optional. If dried beef isn’t available at your butcher, Armour makes a ground compressed dried beef sold in 2-1/2-ounce jars. Soak it in warm water to cover for 15 minutes to rinse off some of the salt. Serves 8.

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About John DeMers

I've been a journalist and author forever. My favorite single word in the English language is "foodandwine." This spirit drives my 45 published books and my weekly radio show heard in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

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