Brazilian Feijoada and Caipirinhas

Feijoada, Collard Greens and CaipirinhaThe Beautiful Game

Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!
For those of you living a normal day-to-day existence, this week is like any other—although for some it is the last week of school, which makes this week (in the eyes of the kids) awesome. For us sports junkies, this week kicks of a month of pounding hearts, adrenaline spikes, heated debates, and hair pulling as the greatest sporting event in the world begins…the 2014 World Cup.

Aside from the Olympics, this is the only sporting event where the winners can legitimately call themselves a World Champion. Here in the U.S., soccer is well-loved by our younger generations, but for the most part takes a back seat to football and baseball. The rest of the world on the other hand, goes nuts for it. And I do mean nuts.,

This year’s games are being played in Rio de Jeneiro, which couldn’t be a more appropriate location. (Talk about a party!) Brazil has a long history of great soccer, and is looking to prove to the world again just how dominant they are in the sport.

For me, it’s an excuse to eat Brazilian food. I know. Not exactly the kind of fare you will find around every corner though you can find it—especially in the Bay Area. One of my favorite dishes is Feijoada.

Feijoada is Brazil’s  most emblematic dish. It is stewed meat and beans with sausage and rice and collard greens. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it.) Throw in a caipirinha and I am a happy girl. Too many of those caipirinhas and I am too happy. (Be careful. Caipirinhas are the kind of drinks where you wake up in a road-side ditch…Don’t wake up in a road-side ditch!)

Authentic Feijoada can be time intensive and uses unfamiliar smoked cuts of meat not easily found by most Americans. (How’s that for diplomatic?) Below are two recipes for different versions of Feijoada. The first one is a not so traditional version from Chef Eric Ripert and is more approachable for the American home: the ingredients are more readily available, and the recipe is less labor-intensive. The second is a more traditional version for those who are up for the challenge.

And of course, the Caipirinhas…

Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds dried black beans, soaked overnight rinsed, and drained
3 1/2 quarts water
1 pound fresh spicy sausage, such as linguiça
3/4 pound dried beef (carne seca) or corned beef, in one piece
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork chops
3/4 pound lean slab bacon
3/4 pound chorizo, in one piece
1 dried red chile
Toasted Manioc Flour

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy casserole. Add the garlic and onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the drained black beans. Add the water to the casserole and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add all of the meats and the dried chile and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour longer.

Remove the meats from the casserole and thickly slice them; discard any bones. Pick out and discard the chile. Season the beans with salt. Ladle the beans into shallow bowls and serve with the sliced meats. Pass the Toasted Manioc Flour at the table for sprinkling over the feijoada. We like to eat them with sautéed collard greens. You can make this dish ahead, and refrigerate it over night to be gently reheated.

Feijoada Completa
Adapted from Saveur Magazine

2 1/2 lbs. carne seca (dried salt-cured beef) or corned beef
1 1/2 lbs. lingüiça portuguesa, calabresa, or other smoked pork sausage, such as kielbasa, cut crosswise into 5″ pieces
1 1/2 lbs. paio (Brazilian spicy pork sausage) or Spanish chorizo, cut crosswise into 5″ pieces
3 pig’s tails, salt-cured, smoked, fresh, or a combination thereof
2 split pig’s feet, salt-cured, smoked, fresh, or a combination thereof
2 pig’s ears, salt-cured, smoked, fresh, or a combination thereof
6 cups dried black turtle beans
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tomatoes, cored and chopped
3 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
freshly ground white pepper
1 lb. pork loin, thickly sliced
1 beef-flavored bouillon cube
sautéed collard greens
sautéed rice
toasted manioc flour

Gather three large bowls. Put the beef into the first bowl, smoked and spicy sausages into another bowl, and pig’s tails, feet, and ears into the third bowl. Fill the bowls with cold water to cover meats and set aside in a cool place for 8–10 hours, changing water 5–6 times.

Meanwhile, rinse the beans, and put them into a very large bowl with 7 1/2 quarts cold water. Set aside in a cool place for 8–10 hours. Change the water half way through. Drain beans, reserving the soaking liquid, and set beans and soaking liquid aside separately. Drain meats, discarding soaking liquid, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, and pepper to taste and then cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until vegetables are soft, 8–10 minutes. Add soaked meats and pork loin and ribs to pot and cook, stirring to coat meats well, for 2–3 minutes.

Add beans and just enough of the reserved bean-soaking liquid to barely cover meats (about 12 cups). Increase heat to high, partially cover pot, and bring to a boil, skimming foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add bouillon cube and 4 cups of the reserved bean-soaking liquid, partially cover pot, and gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Adjust seasoning if necessary and continue cooking, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft and meats are very tender, 1 ½ –2 hours more.

3. To serve: First ladle some of the bean broth from the pot into shot glasses or small cups; add a dash of Tabasco to each glass, if you like. To serve beans, meats, and accompaniments, remove meats from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large platter. Transfer beans and remaining broth to a large crock or bowl.

Serve beans and meats with oranges, collard greens, rice, and toasted manioc flour on the side.

Saveur Magazine
You can substitute vodka for the fiery cachaça (sugarcane brandy) in this classic drink and call the result a caipiroska.

2 washed limes
2-3 tbsp. sugar
2-1 /1/2 oz. cachaça

Cut 2 washed limes into sixths, put into a sturdy 14-oz. lowball glass, and add 2–3 tbsp. sugar.

With a pestle or a small wooden spoon, muddle limes and sugar together. Add 2–2 1/2 oz. cachaça, fill glass with ice, and stir well.

Serve garnished with a slice of lime.

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