A traditional Portuguese dish, feijoada has been raised to an art form in Brazil. Here, this thick pork stew contains various salty meats and black beans in a tasty sauce. Feijoada scales up easily to feed a crowd – just keep the meat and bean ratio at 3:1. The traditional accompaniments include farofa (a toasted cassava mixture) and Brazilian vinaigrette (part sauce, part salsa). In Brazil, a feijoada often includes trotters and other offcuts, but this version uses more familiar meats for a British butcher’s version. If possible, start cooking the beans and meat the day before you’re planning to serve them.
500g (1lb) black beans, soaked overnight or for at least 5 hours
500g (1lb) salt brisket
3 bay leaves
1 x 250-g (8-oz) piece of smoked belly bacon with rind, off bone
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 x 250-g (8-oz) piece of fresh belly pork with rind, off bone
500g (1lb) fresh sausages, preferably spicy (some can be replaced with one or more pieces of salty meat, such as hot-smoked rack of pork rib, bratwurst, cooking chorizo or smoked loin of pork, and add a quartered pig’s trotter)
2 oranges, each cut into 6 segments, to serve
For the sauce
1 tablespoon lard or oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red or green pepper, finely chopped
1 x 400-g (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
½ green chilli, deseeded (optional)
For the farofa
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
100g (3½oz) smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
150g (5oz) carrot, coarsely grated
125g (4oz) mandioca (toasted cassava flour) or 65g (2½oz) dry white breadcrumbs
25g (1oz) good-quality pork scratchings (optional)
For the Brazilian vinaigrette
3 sweet peppers of different colours, cut into small dice
1 red or white onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
½ chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2–4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drain the beans, put them in a large pan and cover with water. Add the brisket and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then skim off the froth, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. When hot, put the smoked belly bacon in a roasting tray and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
Put the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and brown the fresh belly pork on all sides.
When the beans have been cooking for 1 hour, add both the belly and the cooked bacon. Cover and cook for another 1 hour, stirring occasionally to check the mixture isn’t burning or sticking on the bottom.
Lightly brown the fresh sausages (and bratwurst, if using) in the frying pan. Add to the beans and cook everything together for another 1 hour, until soft and tender.
Remove the meats and cut the rind off the pork and bacon and as much fat as you like, then cut the meat into large chunks about 2.5–3.5cm (1–1½in) square. Return the meats to the pan and stir well. The dish can be prepared up to this point a day in advance. Cover and chill until required.
Make the sauce at least 1 hour 15 minutes before serving. Heat the fat in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic and fry gently until soft (10 minutes). Add the chopped pepper and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and chilli (if using). Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or so.
Reheat the beans and meat mixture if necessary then stir in the sauce. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally so the beans don’t stick to the bottom and the sauce reduces slightly. The stew can be left simmering until you are ready to eat or are ready for seconds, but make sure the beans don’t catch on the bottom.
While the beans and meat are cooking in the sauce, make the ferofa and the vinaigrette. To make the farofa, melt the butter with the oil in a large sauté pan, then cook the bacon in it over a medium heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the fat left in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft (10 minutes). Add the carrot and cook for a few more minutes, until slightly softened.
Stir in the cassava flour and cook for just a few minutes so that it absorbs the fat. Stir in the cooked bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with pork scratchings, if you like.
To make the Brazilian vinaigrette, combine all the chopped vegetables and herbs in a bowl. Shortly before serving, season with salt and pepper, dress with the lemon juice and olive oil and mix well.
Serve the feijoada with rice, kale or cavolo nero, plus the farofa and Brazilian vinaigrette, putting an orange segment on each plate to refresh the palate. Also offer some chilli sauce on the side for those who like to spice things up.