When I lived in Brazil in the seventies, one of my favourite dishes became simple stewed black beans and white fried rice that we literally ate with everything at home. But apart from a simple bean stew, the Brazilian’s most typical dish is Feijoada, which is a bean stew, cooked with several types of salted meats and served with white rice, orange slices and very thinly cut and sautéed kale or collard greens. It is also served with other things, it can have up to 6 different accompaniments but I simplified it for this recipe using the most popular ones.
It’s a crowd pleaser and can be made ahead - actually I find it much tastier the following day and the sauce thicker.
I have never found the salted meats outside Brazil so I make it at home with normal fresh meats. The most amazing thing I learned was that cooking the beans and meat with an orange absorbs some fat, making the dish much lighter. Don’t ask me why!?
—Maria Teresa Jorge
8 - 10
Black bean Stew with meat
dry Black beans or pre-cooked canned
veal – best not lean
1 1/2 pounds
medium onions, finely chopped
garlics, finely chopped (green inside part removed
dry bay leaves
fresh orange whole, with skin, washed very well
orange – juice freshly squeezed and strained
dry chilli or more (optional)
fresh oranges peeled to the fruit (don’t leave any white membrane) and cut in slices crosswise
Cooked long grain white rice
kale or collard greens
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
garlic chopped finely (green inner part removed)
For dry black beans: clean them and discard any stones or debris. Wash them thoroughly in a colander under running cold water and put in a large bowl, double the size of the beans.
Cover with cold water 3 inches above beans and let reconstitute overnight
The following day, cook the black beans in their soaking water (the water will be dark but is clean), add the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Do not add any salt to the water. Stir, cover with a lid and lower heat to minimum allowing to simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes, until tender.
Cut veal in medium cubes, cut the pork ribs leaving each piece with 2 ribs attached.
Remove the hard skin from the smoked bacon and dice in small pieces.
In another pot, large enough to cook the beans and the meat together, add the oil and fry the bacon until light golden brown.
Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes until onion becomes transparent.
Add 1 chilli (optional), the chopped garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the black beans and their cooking water. Mix and bring to a boil.
Add the veal, the pork ribs, the whole chourizo skin on and 1 whole orange, previously very well washed. Stir to mix everything well, season with salt and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover with lid and allow to simmer until meat is tender, almost falling of the bone, about another 45 minutes (depends on the quality of meat). The stewed beans need sauce so add boiling water and adjust salt whenever necessary. Stir once in a while so beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
When meats are cooked, discard the whole orange and bay leaves. Cut the chourizo in slices and add back to the beans. Add the juice of one orange and check seasoning.
For the sautéed greens: Rinse leaves very well, pat dry, cut and discard any thick fibrous part of the stems. Stack leaves together and roll them into a cylinder lengthwise. Slice crosswise into very thin strips.
In a sautée pan, add the olive oil and garlic. When it starts to sizzle add the greens and sautée for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Set aside and keep warm.
To serve: Put the bean stew in a deep bowl with all the meats and serve using a laddle. Serve with white rice, the sautéed greens and the orange slices.
Goes well with cold beer or a real Brazilian Caipirinha with lime and Cachaça.
If using pre-cooked black beans skip steps 1 and 2 but make sure you add enough water so the bean stew has enough liquid to cook meats.
Note: You don't ned to use stock to make this bean stew as the bacon and meats have enough taste.