Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Festival Feijoada


My very first post needs to be gold so I'm going to travel back in time to a hearty meal that was had in Rio de Janeiro's bohemian district, the magical, cobblestoned Santa Teresa (a part of my soul still dwells here). 

It’s Friday afternoon, our hosts - the Medeiros family - want to take dear Valencheena and myself for a traditional Brazilian meal. We arrive arrive at Bar do Mineiro in Santa Teresa  to find a queue of hungry Brazilians eagerly awaiting their turn to dig into a pot of lovingly prepared feijoada. Waiting for your turn to be seated is actually a delight - throng around the doorway or stand out on the street while drinking a cerveja (my preference is an ice-cold Antarctica). If you’re a graffiti fan you’ll be well occupied during your wait.

We are seated. The restaurant decor is tremendously simple – expect a very noisy bunch of locals (who might decide to start dancing for no apparent reason) looking for hearty comfort food. Legend has it feijoada, which is usually prepared on weekends due to the long preparation process, was born in the back kitchens occupied by Brasil’s African slave population in the 1600s. Every scrap of pig—ears, tails, dried tongue and nose included—left over by the masters were rescued from the trash and thrown into a stew of black beans to give birth to this feast. Today, a big favorite among Brasil’s middle and upper classes too, feijoada is a much anticipated treat which must be followed by a siesta. And oh boy, will it be one hell of a siesta!

My favorite part of the meal is the jewel-like fresh orange to cleanse the palate between bites and, of course, the caipirinha without which no feijoada meal is complete. If you have a whole day to spare, try making the dish at home (I never have but would love to hear about your experience).

Ingredients for Feijoada
According to Wikipedia, the stew is “best prepared over slow fire in a thick clay pot.”
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 red cayenne pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
5 large tomatoes, chopped
4 cups dried beans (black bean), soaked overnight, drained
1 lb. salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb. smoked sausage
2 lbs. corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 lb. pork spareribs, cut small pieces
1 lb. smoked lean ham
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 quarts water
1/2 lb. green cabbage, sliced
1 bunch collard greens, washed, shredded
6 oranges, peeled, sliced (served between courses)

No comments:

Post a Comment