Slow Cooker

Iara's Feijoada Completa (black beans)

January  1, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Iara, my best friend and matron of honor when I got married, was an architect from Porto Alegre. With her Brazilian and Portuguese background, she taught me many dishes while we were in graduate school together in Syracuse. This remains my favorite. As the famed Brazilian national dish, you can quickly understand why it is so beloved when you enjoy the whole meal: It is best served with farofa (toasted manioc flour), rice, sauteed kale, and a Batida de Limao. One theory on the origins of this dish suggests it stems from Brazilian slaves who made great feasts for themselves from the scraps of meat from their Portuguese masters, while also using all the weird leftover bits the Portuguese would not eat, such as ear and tail. Another theory is that this dish simply evolved as a Brazilian interpretation of the European cassoulet or caldeirada. In any case I like using a combination of beef ribs and pork sausage for both a tender and flavor-rich result. My version does not use pork trotter, ear or tail, traditional carne seca or smoked bacon slab since my friend Iara did not either. This is basically how Iara taught me to make her national dish. If you are making this for kosher company, you can just simply use all beef short ribs and the suggested additional spices. This recipe is also easy to cut in half. —Sagegreen

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups dried black beans (turtle), soaked at least overnight
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds beef short ribs, bone-in
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika (if using only beef short ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon achiote spice mix (if using all beef only) to taste
  • 8-12 ounces linguica (andouille or chorizo can be substituted)
  • 8-12 ounces pork sausage
  • 2-4 ounces pancetta, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 small, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 fresh sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-4 1/2 cups homemade stock, chicken preferred, you know the kind that gels in the fridge
  • sprinkle of black pepper
  • 4 oranges
  • sprinkle of sea salt to taste
  • fresh cilantro garnish
  • sliced green scallions for garnish
  • toasted manioc flour (or use cooked toasted French couscous) and basmati white or yellow rice on the side
  1. Rinse and sort through the black beans. Soak in a large bowl of water overnight. Have at least 3 inches of water on top of the beans. Drain the water the next day. For this recipe please don't even think about using canned black beans really just can't.
  2. Cut the sausage into 1 inch pieces (I also remove the casing). Cut the short rib meat off the bones in 1 inch pieces, but do save the bones to brown and add to the pot. In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil. Brown the meat in batches and transfer to a platter.
  3. In the same pan saute the chopped onions and smashed garlic. Add the pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Next add the drained beans and black pepper. Zest one half of an orange and add that. Add the flesh of one orange (with the white peel removed). Pour in 4 cups of stock, and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer slowly uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Do not let the beans burn on the bottom.
  4. Return the browned meat (bones, too) to the pot after the sauce has begun to thicken, and continue to simmer very slowly for another half hour. If you are making a kosher version with all short ribs, add additional spices to the beef. Stir in and add additional stock if the sauce is getting overly thick. Simmer slowly for another half hour, at least, until the beans have really softened. Add salt last. Taste and adjust seasoning. You want a long, slow cook with this stew. It should reduce by almost half while cooking.
  5. When the sauce has thickened to your liking and the meats are very tender, it is ready to serve. Remove the bones and bay leaf, as well any other bits you think unsavory. Slice up three oranges. Arrange rice and farofa, or French couscous, on a platter. Ladle the beans and the meats on top. Garnish with sliced oranges, sliced scallions, and sprigs of cilantro. Serve with sauteed kale (couve a mineira) or swiss chard, roasted cassava, and a batida de limao (or beer works, too).
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hennef7
  • AntoniaJames
  • Lizthechef
  • Kayb
  • lastnightsdinner

19 Reviews

hennef7 February 1, 2011

I had an authentic feijoada at a wedding years ago and loved it. Look forward to attempting this.
Your recipes are amazing!
Sagegreen February 1, 2011
Thank you so much, hennef7! Hope you enjoy this recipe.
AntoniaJames January 17, 2011
Hi, SG. I saved this the minute I laid eyes on it, and am queuing it up now. I cannot eat paprika or any capsicum derivative, so I must leave out the paprika and the achiote, and will be selecting a sausage accordingly. Would you use some other spice in this instead? It seems that cumin, toasted and ground, would be good, though obviously would make the dish less authentic. (That's not a concern to me.) Thank you so much. ;o)
Sagegreen January 17, 2011
Thanks, AJ. Yes, cumin should work nicely. It is a great dish, probably less about the short ribs and more about the mix of ingredients. As long as you mix a variety of meats with the beans, it should be lovely. I hope you enjoy!
adamnsvetcooking January 3, 2011
This reminds me of a very wonderful and yummie dish that I had in Newark's Iron Bound (they have a big Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish restaurants)! Nicely done!
Sagegreen January 3, 2011
Thanks, adamsvetcooking. Happy New Year to you!
Lizthechef January 2, 2011
This brings back happy memories of my trip to Brazil - where some of the friendliest people in the world reside. Your recipe is very authentic and looks delicious!
Sagegreen January 2, 2011
Thanks, Lizthe chef. I envy your trip to Brazil. That's on my list. Your carrot ginger soup was so delicious!
Kayb January 2, 2011
This looks marvelous. I love most anything you can do to a black bean, and combining them with short ribs sounds inspired!
Sagegreen January 2, 2011
Thanks, Kayb. There is even steam rising off the short ribs in the photo. It works really well with the black beans. Hope you post a photo of your ribs with the duck fat!
lastnightsdinner January 2, 2011
Oh YUM. I love Feijoada and haven't had it for years, but I think that's going to change soon :)
Sagegreen January 2, 2011
Thanks! I just uploaded more photos. The lime green pan holds the kosher version, the red pan the sausage plus version. Both turned out delicious! The kosher version (which turned out much blacker and closer to what I remember) is plated on the sage green plate, and the sausage plus version on the aqua plate.
ShoeboxKitchen January 1, 2011
This looks wonderful! Feijoada was one of the first dishes my now wife served to me that I truly loved (served at a party), before we even started dating. I knew then that she was a catch. Her version uses pork and mango instead of beef and oranges - I suppose there are endless possibilities. We'll have to try this version soon!
Sagegreen January 1, 2011
Thanks, ShoeboxKitchen. What a great story. Wishing you both many happy years! Pork and mango sound wonderful. I am having so much fun cooking Brazilian today!
monkeymom January 1, 2011
This looks so good! I love feijoada but have not had it with beef. So good with the kale and rice!
Sagegreen January 1, 2011
Thanks. I am making one version completely with beef short ribs and the other with all the mixed meats. I love the beef and pork combination.
Sagegreen January 1, 2011
I could not find manoic flour handily this week, but feature a cassava in the photo on the left...which I may attempt to prepare sometime this week.
aargersi January 1, 2011
Yum, so happy to see a feijoada recipe. It's another thing on my "to try" list mybe now that will happen!! What's batida de limao??
Sagegreen January 1, 2011
I posted a recipe for that, too. Wish I could bring a batch on the plane!