If you have ever been to Brazil or are there now, then you definitely have heard of feijoada! And if you haven’t, I would suggest moving to Brazil just because of it (haha).
Today I am going to describe to you what the national dish called feijoada is, where it came from and a feijoada recipe for it so you too can make some whether you live in Brazil, are moving to Brazil or just want some.
Note: if you are vegetarian, I will include a feijoada recipe for you as well!
One of the perks of living in Brazil is the fact that you are introduced to a very special and different world of Brazilian food. In Brazil, food is not just for filling your belly as quickly and efficiently as possible, Brazilian food is a centerpiece for enjoying each other’s company.
So, when a Brazilian prepares a dish for you, it is done with pride, passion and care. This is just one of the reasons as to why feijoada is such a “proud” dish for a Brazilian to serve, there is a lot of emotions and history that go along with it.
This is because Brazil has an empathetic view towards the centuries of slaves the modern Brazilian claims roots from. The common folkloric explanation one hears as to the origin of Feijoada is that the slaves were handed the left over pieces from slaughtered animals, they then took these pieces (i.e. ears, intestines, feet etc) and made a type of black bean based soup with them.
Whether this is true or not, I’m not sure, but historians can retrace it’s roots to northern Portugal in the 18th century. Though in Brazil, Feijoada became widespread in the 19 century starting around the northeast.
Let’s talk a bit about what feijoada is
It is what you see in the top right of this blog post (though without the accessories) and can vary greatly, but generally it is: Brazilian food consisting of smoky tasting black bean soup with ham, sausage, steak (dried meat in Brazil), bacon, orange, onion, garlic, coriander and bay leaves.
Together this symphony of ingredients creates a spectacular, mouth watering dish! Mmmm….
The composition varies (like said) greatly according to the region and chef’s taste. One thing is for sure though, you will find this proud dish in most all restaurants throughout Brazil and any Brazilian restaurant abroad.
What is served with it?
A few musts are rice, collard greens and a good cerveja (beer) or refrigerante (soda).
The rice is the base for the feijoada to rest upon gracefully, it allows the flavors and juices to infiltrate the rice grains creating a wonderful texture and flavor. Obviously you must have the rice due to the fact that it catches all of the sauce and taste. But hey, I wont knock you if you just want to eat it alone in a bowl!
The collard greens in my opinion are optional, but it’s hard to find the stuff without it. They are prepared by thinly slicing the greens and sautéing them on a pan with butter/oil, salt and pepper.
And how else are you going to wash it down then with a tasty beer or soda? Did anyone say Guaraná Antarctica?
I am a personal lover of farofa. Farofa is a type of toasted cassava (manioc) flour prepared with onion, oil and many types of optional dressing.
Farofa is really popular in Brazil and you see people drissle (or dump) it onto their rice and beans as it not only sucks up the juices and makes it thicker, but adds a nice amount of flavor.
This in my opinion is a must when preparing feijoada, as it’s the middleman between the two textures of the rice and soup. The rice gives a great texture and structural foundation for the feijoada to be mixed into, but the farofa assures you that the very liquidy juices are soaked up for maximum enjoyment.
Feijoada Brazilian Food Recipe
You will find a lot of versions of feijoada recipes on the internet, but be aware that the English versions are very Americanized and use readily available ingredients.
Here is an Americanized feijoada recipe for Feijoada Black Bean Soup
If you want real Brazilian food and not an Americanized version, then find a feijoada recipe in Portuguese like this one:
Feijoada Humm (use Google Translate then copy and paste the link into it, it will translate the website for you if you don’t understand Portuguese)
Google translate will do the job “ok” but you will definitely want to get som “carne seca” (dried meat) at your local Brazilian market, if you are outside Brazil.
Farofa Recipe(will have to use Google Translate)
A really good and authentic “Brazilian food” cookbook I recommend is Delicious Brazil Gastronomy and Tourism. In it you will find all of the major Brazilian cuisines with the English and Portuguese side by side– I highly recommend it.
Vegetarian Feijoada (use Google Translate, you can use mushrooms and even Brazil Nuts if you prefer!)
I hope that this was enlightening and interesting! Enjoy your Feijoada and I will make sure to include more gastronomical enlightenment later on on this blog.