Monday, December 31, 2012

Brazilian Feijoada – Happy (and hopefully very lucky) New Year!!

We’ve posted about this before, but there’s a great, southern tradition of eating beans and greens on New Year’s Day to ensure good fortune in the coming year. 

Apparently, by eating “poor” the first day of the year, you align certain cosmic forces in your favor, which results in prosperity and good luck the rest of the year. Sounds crazy, right? I know, you’re way too sophisticated to believe in such lame supernatural shenanigans. Hey wait a minute…don’t you watch all those ghost hunter shows on cable TV? Busted! Hey, did you hear that noise?

Anyway, whether you believe in this kind of culinary clairvoyance or not, this Brazilian feijoada is one of the world’s great stews. The traditional good luck bean is the black-eyed pea, but here we’re celebrating the delicious, and very nutritious, black bean.

I tried to be clear in the video that this is just my version, and not some attempt at true feijoada authenticity, whatever that is. As long as you have black beans, and LOTS of smoked, salted, dried, and/or cured meats, you are well on your way to some kind of feijoada-like awesomeness.

In case you’re wondering, all I did for the greens was boil some kale in salted water until tender, and then sauté briefly in olive oil and garlic. It pairs perfectly with the white rice and rich stew, and while I can’t guarantee a year’s worth of wealth and good luck, I can promise you a delicious bowl of food. Happy New Year to all of you, and as always, enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 pounds dry black beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts water, plus more as needed (add more whenever stew looks too dry)
1 bay leaf
2 smoked pork chops
12 oz linguica
8 oz Italian sausage
4 oz smoked bacon
3 oz dried beef
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste
For the crumbs:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

Basic steps:
- Soak beans overnight, add to pot with bay leaf, beef jerky, and any bones
- Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are cooked, but very firm
- Add onion mixture and meats, and simmer for another hour, or until beans are very soft
- Add a splash of water at any point during the cooking if stew looks too dry
- Test and add salt near the end, depending on saltiness of meat

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