Magazine article Sunset

Feijoada ... It's Brazil's Party Dish

Magazine article Sunset

Feijoada ... It's Brazil's Party Dish

Article excerpt

Feijoada . . . it's Brazil's party dish

From humble beginnings as a meal made by Brazilian slaves, feijoada (fay-zhwahdah) has evolved into a party food popular throughout Brazil. In this country, too, the stew of meats and black beans, with colorful accompaniments, makes appealing party fare.

Smoked meats simmer with beans to bring out rich flavors. You serve elements separately, with traditional side dishes: rice, kale, orange slices, chili salsa, and a crisp-soft topping called farofa--toasted dry manioc with onions and bananas.

For dessert, offer Brazil's intense, rich coconut custard, quindin, with pineapple. You'll find manioc (also called cassava) in markets catering to Brazilians and Africans (who call it gari). Or use farina instead; it's available in supermarkets with other hot breakfast cereals.

A chunk of carne seca (air-dried beef), sold here in Brazilian markets and gourmet food stores, adds authenticity, but harder, thinner beef jerky will do.

Feijoada preparation is most easily done over two days. A day or two ahead, cook beans and meat, make farofa and the custard, and wash kale. On party day, make salsa, chop and cook kale, cook rice, slice oranges, and reheat meat, beans, and farofa.

Brazilian Feijoada

1 small (about 2 1/2 lb.) smoked or corned beef tongue

1/2 pound Brazilian carne seca (dried beef) or beef jerky

Water

1 1/2 pounds (3 1/2 cups) dry black beans, sorted of debris and rinsed

5 pounds lean beef short ribs (fat trimmed), sawed into 2-inch lengths

1/2 pound each beef link sausage, Polish sausage (kielbasa), and linguisa (Portuguese-style sausage)

1/8 pound Canadian bacon (optional), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 bay leaves

2 large onions, chopped

2 tablespoons salad oil

1/3 cup minced parsley

Fresh salsa (recipe follows)

Brown rice (recipe follows)

Farofa (recipe follows)

Wilted kale (recipe follows)

Sliced oranges (directions follow)

Place tongue and carne seca in a 10- to 12-quart pan. Cover with cold water, then bring to a boil over high heat. Drain and repeat. To meats in pan, add beans, 4 1/2 quarts water, and ribs. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer until tongue is very tender when pierced, about 2 3/4 hours. Add beef, Polish, and linguisa sausages and Canadian bacon; simmer until sausages are hot in center (cut to test), about 10 minutes longer. Skim fat off liquid and discard.

Lift out sausages and cut into 1-inch chunks; arrange on a large ovenproof platter. Lift out carne seca; cut into 1-inch pieces and place next to sausages. Lift out tongue. Cut off and discard skin, then cut meat into 1-inch chunks. Lift out ribs; arrange on platter with other meats. Cover tightly and keep warm in a 150| oven. (If made ahead, let cool completely, then cover and chill up to 2 days; reheat, covered, in a 350| oven until meat is hot to touch, about 30 minutes.)

Ladle 2 quarts broth from pan (there will still be broth on beans); reserve 1/4 cup for salsa. Save balance of 2 quarts for other uses. With a slotted spoon, lift 1 1/2 cups beans from pan; set aside.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, cook garlic, bay leaves, and onions in oil until onions are limp, about 10 minutes; stir often. …

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