Now that fall has fallen in most places, you’ll probably want to eat something a bit more substantial and this hearty dish hits the spot.
It’s also perfect for large gatherings. I once served it to a group of twenty people and after my guests had recovered from the initial sight of it – it being a dark and rather evil looking dish – the wonderful aroma and flavor drove everyone back for second and third helpings.
I make it in large batches and freeze it. Apart from the beans needing 24 hours to soak, it’s very simple to make and like many dishes of this sort, it tastes best if you make it the day before you need it.
And despite the name, it’s completely unsuitable for vegetarians.
BRAZILIAN BLACK BEANS & RICE (FEIJOADA)
1 lb (455g) of dried black beans
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (approx 2 ½ tablespoons)
½ lb (230g) of boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1 inch (25cm) chunks
1 lb (455g) of hot spicy pork sausage such as linguica or a hot Italian variety
Two smoked ham hocks weighing approx 1lb (455g) in total
1 ½ tablespoons of grated orange zest
2 bay leaves
Approx 3 pints (1.7ltr) of water
Freshly steamed white rice
One tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) – optional
In a large bowl, add the back beans and enough water to cover them by 3 inches (80cm). Soak them for 24 hours then drain.
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil then add the onion and garlic – sauté for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add the chopped pork ribs and turn them around until they’ve browned – another 4-5 minutes.
Throw everything else into the pot and enough water to cover it all by one inch (25 cm). Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low; cover and simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. This can take anywhere from 1 and a quarter to two and half hours.
Uncover the pot and crank up the heat to medium. Allow it to simmer until everything has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 more minutes.
Remove the ham hocks – cut the meat off the bones and chop it. Return the ham to the pot and heat everything through.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper – serve the feijoada over plain white rice, perhaps with a little chopped cilantro folded in.