Exotic Brazil

Buon Natal and Happy New Year!!!!!
Dear Subscribers:

Thank you for your support during 2009. After a few months of absence, we return fully charged with positive energy to deliver to you great recipes and fantastic anecdotes and experiences of our travels during 2009-2010.

To celebrate the Holiday Season, I had the fortune of traveling to the land of Samba and Bossa Nova — you guessed it — Brazil!. After spending a fantastic time in Sao Paulo, I headed off to Buzios, IhlaGrande and IhlaBela to enjoy sand, sea and sun and to say the least, fantastic cuisine. During this time back home in the Twin Cities they had two major storms that almost left us camping there for a while. To say the least one suitcase traveled in and out of the U.S. to Brazil without actually being opened and untouched! Ah, the beauty and perils of air travel!

This has been one of the most challenging trips I have had in terms of language. Spanish and Portuguese have many similarities, including some vocabulary and grammar base. However, there’s much Spanish into Portuguese, but there isnt’ much Portuguese into Spanish (if you know what I mean), and surprisingly in the 21st Century —there’s very little English spoken anywhere! So creativity was very much needed to communicate with the locals. Needless to say, I managed to communicate with almost everyone in a fun and creative way. One must have to do what one must do when needed!

During 85-90 degree weather, awesome sights and good eats, I came across several times the national dish of Brazil, the Feijoada, which is a scrumptious black bean stew with many different types of sausages and meats and traditional fixings. Prior to eating the Feijoada in Brazil, I had had it and made it in the U. S. and this experience has helped me enhance my recipe for your delight. Saludos, Amalia

Recipe of the Month

Brazilian Feijoada
Black Bean and Meats Stew

10-12 servings

Bean stew
2 lbs dried black beans, free of debris, rinsed
3 qt chicken stock
2 tbsp Canola oil
2 cups onions, finely chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb dry salted beef (tasajo), wax removed, thinly sliced
1 lb fresh pork loin, cubed
1 lb linguiça sausage, thinly sliced
1 lb calabresa sausage, thinly sliced
1 lb smoked bacon, baked, crumbled
1 lb fresh boneless pork spareribs, thinly sliced

Navel oranges, Farofa (toasted manioc meal)

Soak beans in water overnight, or cook in slow cooker in chicken stock in the high setting for 4 hours. Liquid to beans ratio is about 3:1.

Remove wax from salted beef and soak overnight to remove excess salt, changing the water at least 3 times. Blanch meat for a few seconds to remove any residual wax. Brown seasoned fresh pork loin and spareribs on skillet. Repeat procedure with sausages.

Cook beans and salted beef in medium heavy bottomed pot until beans are cooked, about 1 ½ hours or a little longer. Puree about one cup of beans and liquid. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring a few times until the onions are softened and light brown, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cumin and red pepper flakes. Add bean puree and mix well.

Combine all meats, beans, and bean puree mixture. Cook while stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Garnish and serve.

Traditional side dishes: white rice, stewed kale or collard greens.