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March 8, 2004 | by  | in Opinion |
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(Recipe) Feijoada Completa

Over summer I was lucky enough to spend some time in Brazil. This is a recipe for the traditional Brazilian Feijoada, derived using ingredients found locally.
Feijoada is a black bean and pork stew, created by African slaves brought to Brazil by the Portuguese. Vegetarian versions of Feijoada are also tasty (and often healthier) alternatives.

Feijoada completa
(serves six fairly hungry flatmates)

500g black beans (found in bulk bins – also called ‘black turtle beans’)
1 can refried black beans (found in organic section). If you can’t find refried black beans, refried beans from the Mexican section at the supermarket are fine.
2 Bay leaves
2T Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
Salt and Pepper
2T Cumin
3t ground chilli (or more, to taste)
One orange, cut into quarters
Optional, for carnivorous version: enough meat for six people – a variety of pork cuts, pork sausage, chorizo, etc. The beauty of making a stew like this is that cheaper cuts of meat will become more tender cooked this way.

The night before: Place the black beans in a large bowl, and cover with 1.5L boiling water.
The next evening, drain the beans and place in a large saucepan with the bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the beans 1.5 times. Simmer on a medium heat for 90 minutes, making sure that there is water covering the beans. When the beans are ready, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. (If you are adding meat, cut it into bite-sized pieces and fry now too.) When the onion becomes soft, season with salt, pepper and spices.
Drain the beans, but keep the liquid they were cooked in! Add beans with 2C of the liquid to the onion/spice mix. Stir in the can of refried beans, and simmer for a further 30 minutes.
Test the stew and season to taste. Before serving, squeeze the orange over the stew. Although this sounds strange, it adds an interesting kick to the meal.
Serve with rice, greens, farofa, and chilli sauce.

Cook long-grain or basmati rice for six according to manufacturer’s instructions. Sauté one finely diced onion and a clove of crushed garlic in a tablespoon of oil.
Stir through cooked rice.

Kale is traditionally used, but I couldn’t find any. I used spinach instead, which worked well. If you don’t like spinach, try other green vegetables such as beans or bok choy.
Finely slice (shred) enough spinach for six. In a large frying pan, sauté two cloves of crushed garlic and generous amounts of black pepper in 2T of butter. Toss well for about 2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.

Traditionally made with manioc flour, this is another thing I have had to improvise. Never fear, it still tastes ok!
Melt 2T of butter in a frying pan and add 1C finely ground breadcrumbs. Lightly fry until breadcrumbs are golden brown, and no longer greasy. Let cool and season with salt and pepper.
Toss through a handful of olives OR cashew nuts OR a diced boiled egg OR diced cooked bacon. Sprinkle farofa over the meal in the same way as you might use Parmesan on pasta.

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