Saturday, February 18, 2017

Feijoada - an all-in-one-pot soup version

Reputed to be the national dish of Brazil, possibly reflecting a Portuguese influence (link), feijoada is the perfect comfort-food antidote to a cold snowy day... or a chilly wet weekend... even a bracing sunny day. Simple enough to whip up for family meals, it might also please company at a soup and bread feast. Our first introduction to feijoada was ages ago, as guests at an open house feast hosted by friends who were home again following a multi-year posting in Brazil. Their feijoada presented various cuts of grilled pork and pork sausages piled alongside spicy, soupy beans, some greens and bowls of fluffy rice. Both the event and the meal were memorably delicious.

A classic feijoada would include a variety of meat selections, typically pork; some smoked or cured, some fresh, some spicy and some mild. Dried beans would simmer on the stovetop for hours to soften, perhaps 1/4 of the cooked beans reserved to puree and thicken the juices. Traditional side dishes might include collard greens, garlic rice, thinly sliced oranges, and perhaps some tiny hot peppers.    

This isn't that; it's a soup more "in the spirit of" a traditional feijoada. Reminiscent of Cajun red beans and rice, yet totally different, we loved this soup on day one. On day two the beans had soaked up much of the broth, turning my feijoada into more of a stew, still flavor packed and satisfying. This substantial bean and pork soup/stew now ranks high on the list of our favorite winter comfort food recipes. What's your favorite meaty bean soup?

Feijoada - a non-traditional soup version
adapted from recipes by Bernice Ojakangas, Soup and Bread Cookbook  and Sheila Lukins, All Around the World Cookbook

2 cans low-sodium black beans, rinsed & drained
4 slices thick-cut bacon, in 2" dice 
or use 1 TBS olive oil (bacon grease adds more flavor)
3 cups yellow onions, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, peeled & minced or pressed
8 to 12 oz  of smoked sausage (Falls Brand Chorizo), 1/2" dice
1 can (14-oz) diced low-sodium tomatoes 
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp red-pepper flakes
1 can (14-oz) low-sodium beef broth, heated
2+ cups hot, cooked rice
pickled jalapenos, sliced (optional)
grated zest from 1 orange
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Drain and rinse the black beans, repeat, drain again and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon pieces (or just heat the olive oil) in a large, wide-bottomed pot over medium-high heat to render the fat. Add the onion & garlic; cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the diced sausage; cook until browned slightly and some fat is released. Add the tomatoes, cumin, red pepper flakes, drained beans and half of the heated broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until heated through, adding remaining broth as necessary.
  4. Serve in individual bowls over a mound of rice and top with the chopped orange chunks, orange zest, parsley and jalapenos (if using). Or cool the soup and refrigerate, letting the flavors develop and meld, then reheat to serve. 

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