Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Feijoadas grandes

Last summer I was totally knocked up and not good for much. Thank god I still had the presence of mind to a) grow a vegetable garden that included scarlet runner beans and b) utilize some of October's nesting instinct to harvest all of the beans and dry them instead of squandering all that precious energy on retarded shit like vacuuming all of the lampshades.

Scarlet runners (Phaseolus coccineus) are one of my favorite garden plants. I've been growing them for awhile, both for their beauty and their flavor. Hummingbirds love them (in flower), and they make a tasty alternative to flagiolets for cassoulet. They resemble a butter bean or a cranberry bean in flavor, but for this application - in fact, Brazil's answer to cassoulet - I was shooting for a more fashionable alternative to a black bean.

Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil, but variations exist in Portugal as well. Brought to the country by slaves, it traditionally uses black beans and less-popular cuts of pork such as snouts, ears, and trotters. As is typical of peasant fare, the dish has evolved over the years to include a wider variety of meats (depending on the cook and the country in which she lives), though still primarily features pork products cooked with black beans. Mine uses smoky piggy meats such as linguiça sausage and smoked ham shank, a Mexican langoniza (like chorizo, but with beef and pork), bacon and corned beef brisket (looked for carne seca, but was unsuccessful).

Since mine had only been dried for a few months, they didn't need much soak. I let them sit long enough for the skins to wrinkle, though I could've left them overnight. I didn't see the need, though, since I was planning on using a pressure cooker for at least part of the cooking. I think I probably had about 2 or 3 cups of dried beans all together (they filled a pickle jar 3/4 of the way).

I heated my large crockpot over medium-high heat and added 1/4 lb of bacon, one whole linguiça sausage, 1/2 lb of langoniza (left whole) and a 1/2 lb corned beef brisket (without the corning spices) placed fat side down to render out that tasty fat. Meanwhile, I chopped a large onion and minced 4 cloves of garlic and added them to the pot to brown in the rendered fat. I tossed in 4 bay leaves and a dried red chile and then the beans, the ham shank and about 3 or 4 cups of water (I didn't think to measure). You really don't need to add any salt because the meats contribute plenty, but besides that, salt toughens the beans and stalls cooking. You can always season at the end if your arteries really need a stiffy.

I cooked the whole lot at between 10 and 15 psi for about 30-45 minutes, until the beans were tender and the ham shredded off the bone. The beef should be tender enough to yield to the slight pressure of a knife; slice it and the sausages into thick slices and luxuriantly drape the meats over the beans.

Serve with rice, collard greens, orange slices and caipirinhas (a cocktail of cachaça, sugar and limes).

24 comments:

Zen Chef said...

Wow, Heather. You were not kidding when you said this is like a Brazilian cassoulet. That looks awesome! Pass the caipirinha, i'm gonna stare at this beauty for a while. :)

Syd said...

Oh, hell yes. I would dive into that.

Plus, I've been dying to try caipirinhas.

Michael said...

That looks awesome! I grew up with a similar dish from the southern part of the US, and we used ham hocks as well as other less popular parts of the pig.

Lunch Buckets said...

"less popular parts of the pig"

Nice :)

bb said...

Man, I haven't had a good feijoada for years. Consider me properly inspired. I need to get me some beany goodness so our Colman isn't the only one stinking up the joint!
And caipirinhas...one of the easiest, best drinks around. Well played!

Foodycat said...

I prefer your version to snouts, ears and tails!

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Thanks for the recipe Heather. I have been looking for something to do with all the dried scarlet runners I gathered last fall. Now I have a plan.

Any other plans for runner bean recipes?

Christine said...

Ohmygahhhh....I didn't even you were back here. I don't have any babies and still haven't managed to put a decent meal on the table in at least two weeks: ahh, buying a house and working. Blergh.

This looks a-freakingmazing. MUST make. Hmmm..I'll have to check out Rancho Gordo to see if they have any gorgeous runners.

Manggy said...

RICE! I love you. I didn't (and don't, but whatevs) want to tell Stephane and Claire, but it's the only thing I was looking for when I was eating my (yummy) Cassoulet when I went out with them. Duncan had a field day with that little fact :P Old habits die hard, I guess. Yay for smoky pork!! :)

Bellini Valli said...

We used to grow scarlet runners up the side of the deck for both privacy and bounty...the bonus was the hummingbirds.

Norm Schoen said...

I loves me some Caipirinhas-nice to see your writing more.

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I remember tasting feijoada in Brazil many years ago and though it to be quite "interesting"...this looks so much better...your version rocks Heather. let me join you for a capirinha!

The Spiteful Chef said...

Brazilians are awesome. "Our national dish is MEAT. And MORE MEAT. AND SAUSAGE MEAT."

We Are Never Full said...

nice... very nice.

you really can not talk about brazil, summer and drinking summer drinks right now as we're awaiting another snow storm here. i'm so in the mood for this right now. i'm cold and starving and this is the type of meal that would leave me warm and too full.

Odete said...

Came out good. Very well done!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I could dive right into that. I'm glad there were no pig snouts or ears though. I try not to be squeamish, but I still have my moments!

tobias said...

I love the national dish of Brazil. I had thought it would be something with fruit or fish, but I guess this is just a proof on how wron on can be.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

You've really got your culinary mojo up and running again, haven't you?

As usual, this looks fab. Accompanied by a caipirinha, I imagine it'd be completely blissful. Especially with another caipirinha to follow. ;)

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Yay, glad to see one of my favourite food bloggers back in action:-) This looks stunning (and it borders on healthy looking), and feijoada is not one of those things that you usually associate with that word either.

發燙 said...

Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.............................................

Lo said...

See -- now this is the sort of food I'm talkin' about. That's amazing stick-to-your-ribs comfort food.

I share your love for scarlet runners, but have never grown them. Do you pole them? Or are they climbers?

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

That is a work of art. I make the Portuguese version, with white beans, pig's feet and such. Welcome back, Heather!

Recess said...

This makes me miss Brazil.

Gabriela said...

Hii, I'm a brazilian and I have to say that your feijoada dish looks awesome! :)