Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil, although it can be found in almost all of the countries that were once part of the Portuguese empire. It is based on a bean stew from traditional regional Portuguese cuisine and is a very hearty, filling extravaganza. Like all stews it can be made in advance and reheated when ready to serve which, of course, makes it a great dish to feature when deeply involved in Brazilian literature.
Adapted from "A Reader's Cookbook" by Judith Choate.
2 cups dried black beans
4 cups chicken or beef broth
One 3 pound smoked beef tongue, skinned and well-trimmed
2 pound chorizo or kielbasa
2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of all fat
2 pig’s feet, cleaned and halved
1 pound salt pork, diced
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 jalapeño chilies, trimmed, seeded, and minced (or to taste)
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups canned chopped Italian plum tomatoes with their juice
2 bay leaves
Peel of 1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste
10 to 14 cups hot, cooked white rice
4 seedless oranges, peeled and cut, crosswise, into thin slices
Rinse the beans under cold running water. Place in a large saucepan with cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Set aside to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain well and set aside. Combine the broth with 8 cups of water in a large stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil and immediately add the drained beans. Then, add the beef tongue, chorizo, brisket, pig’s feet, and salt pork. Again, bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
While the bean mixture is cooking, heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chilies, onions, and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes along with the bay leaves and orange peel. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.
When the beans have cooked for 45 minutes, remove about 2 cups along with some broth. Using a fork, mash the beans and then stir them into the tomato mixture. When well-blended, stir the entire tomato mixture into the pot of cooking beans and meat. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the meats are very tender. The mixture should be quite soupy. If the broth gets too thick, add additional broth.
Remove the pot from the stove and carefully remove the bay leaves and orange peel. Remove the large pieces of meat and cut them into bite-size pieces. Mound the rice in the center of a large platter. Place the meat around the edges of the rice. Garnish the platter with sliced oranges. Pour the soupy beans into a large bowl or soup tureen.
Serve immediately with Spicy Lime Sauce recipe on the side.