Dinner

By Leticia Moreinos Schwartz | May 13, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

One of the greatest weekend activities is the classic combination of dinner and a movieFor a fun night, buy tickets to the new movie Rio, the new family-friendly animated Pixar feature. Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Jessie Eisenberg and more, Rio will be a hit with your kids or friends!

Instead of going out to eat after the movie, return home for a delicious, home-cooked Brazilian specialty: Feijoada. This recipe is perfect for your evening night out. Feijoada tastes great if you make it before you head out and let the flavors marry during the movie. While, it takes a bit of time to prepare, this stew reheats perfectly and will feed you for days.

This particular Feijoada recipe comes from Brazilian-born chef, Leticia Moreinos Schartz. Leticia came to the US in 1997, and since then has studied Culinary Arts at FCI, published a cookbook, The Brazilian Kitchen, and runs a boutique culinary company, Chef Leticia.

In her recipe, Leticia calls for farofa, or toasted manioc flour, which you can find at any large grocery store, or online here.

Here are Leticia’s thoughts on her dish:

Feijoada is one of the most famous dishes in Brazil. Rio, my hometown, is the feijoada capital of Brazil, and feijoada has the smell of any Saturday in Rio.

This is a serious gastronomic dish, but also a simple one: a big stew of black beans with lots of different kinds of succulent meats cooked inside. It’s served with white rice, farofa (toasted manioc flour), collard greens, and orange sections.

Feijoada, like any stew, takes a few hours to prepare, however it can handle a bit of benign neglect and still deliver an impressive result- just make sure to keep the temperature low at all times. A pressure cooker certainly comes in handy allowing you to make more last minute plans. As the beans simmer it will also get thicker and a glossy film should form on the top. Adjusting the consistency of the feijoada is easy: if it’s too thick, add a bit of water and if it’s too thin, simmer with the pan uncovered.

The origin of the dish has two theories: some believe that it was created by the slaves using as much as possible leftovers from any animal, while others believes the dish was inspired by European stews with meats and sausages cooked in beans. But the origin of feijoada means little to most modern Brazilians. I count myself in that number for what became a habit on a good Saturday and desperation on others.

Feijoada Recipe

Servings: 8-10
Calories: 405 per serving

Ingredients

Feijoada
  • 4 cups dried black beans, picked and rinsed
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb pancetta, cut into medium size cubes
  • 4 pieces of oxtail, about 1 1/4 lb
  • 1 lb top round, cut into big chunks
  • 1 chorizo (linguica), about 1 lb
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup leeks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
Seasonings
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of ground chili pepper
  • Few drops of Tabasco
  • Few drops of Worcestershire

Directions

1. Place the beans in a very large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 1 hour, until the beans are just cooked but not too mushy. Set aside. (You can cook in the beans in a pressure cooker if you want to save time, and it will only take you 15 to 25 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, start preparing meats and vegetables. Saute the oxtail, top round, and sausage in batches, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a large bowl and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

3. Heat the oil in an extra-large Dutch oven pan, and cook the pancetta until lightly crispy.

4. Add the onions, celery, leeks, shallots and scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Add the garlic and stir to blend with other vegetables. Add the beans and bring to a boil.

6. Add the meats and any accumulated juices from the bowl. Cover the pan and simmer at low heat for about 3 hours, until the meats are tender and falling off the bones. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, Tabasco and Worcestershire, all to taste.

7. Serve with rice, farofa, collard greens, and orange grapefruit salad.

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