Both of my parents were raised on farms in rural Brazil. They ate what they grew and raised and nothing went to waste. One of the perfect Brazilian peasant foods that display this is Feijoada, a bean stew. This is one of those dishes that was never made the same twice. It all depended on whatever you had. Pig ears, pig feet, extra chorizo (or linguiça/sausage), smoked ribs, etc. – everything in the pot – cook it until it all fell apart. I’m pretty proud to say that this is probably my most asked for recipe.
I suggest making this 3 days ahead because the longer it sits, the better it gets (leftovers are awesome) but if you don’t have the time, 2 days is fine too.
Bag of Dried Black Beans
slices of good bacon
garlic cloves, diced
links of chorizo, sliced
smoke ham hocks or smoked pig necks (do not skip this intgredient)
crushed red pepper (or more if you like spicy)
Day 1: Rinse beans and soak them overnight. The water will turn black from the beans. (I don’t suggest using canned beans – it’s not the same).
Day 2: Preheat oven at 300 degrees
In a dutch oven, put a couple tablespoons of oil and put diced bacon, cook ‘til crisp.
Add onion and sweat until translucent.
Add garlic, sauté until fragrant.
Then add chorizo, sauté that for a couple minutes until chorizo is about fully cooked.
Add bay leaves, thyme, cumin, oregano and red pepper, sauté for a minute until fragrant.
Add the smoked hocks, sauté a couple minutes
Add beans and sauté for a minute
Pour enough stock to cover everything. Bring to boil and put in oven to simmer for about 2 – 2 ½ hours. (Check on it once an hour to give the beans a stir.)
When done, take the ham hocks out and take meat off the bones (the meat should just come off the bones). Discard bones and stir shredded meat in with the beans. Add salt & pepper to taste. (Whatever you do, do not add salt until the end. If you add salt any sooner it will make the skin in the beans tough). Serve with rice and a green salad .
Day 2 (optional step): Take pot out and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 3 (optional): Warm on stove over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. And serve.