How to Make Feijoada, Brazil's Favorite Meal
How to make a Brazilian feijoada
You may not have heard of it before but feijoada is the national dish of Brazil. This meal however is not saved for national holidays, it is enjoyed year-round. The combination of smoked meats, and black beans makes this a hearty dish and is often served on Sundays. The rest of the day can be spent lounging by the pool or relaxing in a hammock. It is a traditional family time together, around the table enjoying good wholesome food.
The meal normally consists not just of the stew but is accompanied by white rice and dark green kale. Orange slices are served as a garnish. To top it off, fried cassava flour is sprinkled over the top.
I have been told that this tastes better the second day. In fact, many people cook their beans the day before.
Many homes make this and all slightly differently including their favorite types of meat. You may not be able to source some of the exact ingredients so I have included a video which shows how you can substitute the ingredients you may have available to you.
History of feijoada
When I first tried feijoada, with friends, I was also told the history of this dish.They said that this is basically a poor man's food, and that this dish had its roots with the slaves. Brazil had more slaves than any other country. It is estimated that more than 3 million slaves were sent to Brazil, 35% of all slaves.
This story about feijoada, although interesting, isn't true yet many Brazilians still believe it.The truth is, this dish has its origins in Europe. Portugal has many bean and pork stews very similar and it is from here that this dish originated. Portuguese influences here in Brazil, are seen not just in the language but also in some of the architecture and of course the cuisine as well.
I encourage you to watch the video and follow the link which will take you to a list of the ingredients. Here in Brazil they use things such as pig's tail, trotters and dried meat called 'carne de sol'. Also beans are normally cooked in a pressure cooker, virtually every house here has one. Although slightly different than the traditional Brazilian version, the video shows an excellent example of how varied this dish can be. In fact, throughout Brazil, one can find variations.
In Salvador, you would be more likely to find a feijoada that is quite spicy. There they tend to use chillies more in their cooking than they do in other parts.
Beans and rice
Beans and rice are the staple foods of many countries as they can be kept dry and used as needed. The addition of meats, vegetables, herbs and spices is what changes an otherwise bland combination into something tasty.
Throughout many Latin and South America countries, these two ingredients are brought together in uniquely different ways. Each way reflecting the available ingredients in their area and resulting in meals that have become synonymous with their regions and countries.
Here everyone uses a pressure cooker for their beans. It takes less time, and turns out perfectly each time.
Nutrition in beans
Beans have a bad reputation because they can produce gas resulting in flatulence . This affects everyone differently. There are ways to reduce this problem such as changing the water after soaking the beans. It also helps to add baking soda to the cooking water.
Beans are a power pack of nutrition and as such shouldn't be eliminated from your diet.
They are a fantastic source of B vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy bodily functions. Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cyanocobalamin (B12), all of these contribute to a healthy liver, eyes, hair and even blood cells.
Virtually everyone in the western world needs to increase the fiber in their diet and beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber. Yet another reason to eat them.
It is often thought that a diet to lose weight shouldn't contain beans which contain carbohydrates. This is nonsense, as a 1/2 cup of beans only has approximately 120 calories. The goodness you receive from them outweighs the calorie count.
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