Brasilidades Lunch

Feijoada – Brazilian Black Bean Stew

Feijoada – Brazilian Black Bean Stew
Feijoada - Brazilian Black Bean Stew

It would be unfair to nominate only one dish to be the Brazilian national dish. Our culinary is so rich! Every region will have a different traditional dish: Vatapá, Caruru, Pato no Tucupi, Frango com Quiabo,Galinha Cabidela, Moqueca, Churrasco… just to mention a few and I find it really funny that the one dish that is known around the world as the Brazilian national dish is exactly the one that is really not Brazilian 🙂  Well… it is now, but Feijoada has it’s roots in another place.

When I first learn about the Feijoada origin I heard that it was a dish created by the slaves with the parts of the pork that were rejected by the Masters.  Another version of the story and more credible is that Feijoada is actually a variation of the European Cassoulet brought to South America by the Portuguese – variations of Feijoada can also be found in other former Portuguese Colonies such as Angola and Mozambique.

In Brazil Feijoada is generally made with Black Beans, Brazilian beef jerky (semi dried and salty beef), pork trimmings such as ears and tail, pork loin, bacon, smoked pork ribs and smoked sausages such as Portuguese chorizo (Paio). Some places in North of Brazil add vegetables like carrots and cabbage to it.

Just like Cassoulet, the good feijoada takes 2-3 days to be prepared. First the meats have to be soaked in water overnight to remove the excess of salt. The beans also are soaked to make it easier to cook. The bean and meat stew is prepared in the second day with garlic, onions, bay leaves and red chillies – If you are using a good quality bean and soaked it during the night it will be ready to be eaten in a bit more than 4 hours but most of the families will prepare it using a Pressure Cooker that will reduce to 1/3 the cooking time. The best Feijoada though, is the one you will prepare and leave to eat in the third day – something is worth having is worth waiting for right?

You might read the recipe and think is a heavy dish specially for a country where average temperatures will go far beyond 20C(68F) and guess what! It is! In spite of it people will still have it at least once a week.

In São Paulo, every Wednesday, restaurants will offer Feijoada as the special of the day, people in the offices will leave 12:00 sharp, all at the same time, together, to gather around a clay pot of Feijoada and wash it down with a glass of beer (yes, we go back to work afterwards, two hours afterwards though :-)) In Rio de Janeiro the same ritual will be repeated on Friday.

Feijoada - Brazilian Black Bean Stew Saturday is Feijoada day again! Day to join the family and have some more of the beloved stew with, of course, Beer, Caipirinhas and listening to live Samba and Chorinho. Life is beautiful and people are happy:-D

Feijoada is a dish for crowds! This recipe will feed 10 people easy.  I made it several times and once for more than 100 people.   Is hard to make less than it because you need lots of different bits and pieces of meat.  Good news is that only gets better after a few days and freezes really well.

Today I am posting the Feijoada Recipe and will be posting tomorrow the Recipe for Caipirinha and a very Brazilian dessert. What about a Brazilian Thematic Lunch??

Important Notes:

  • The recipe below is the method if you don’t have a pressure cook.  
  • The traditional Feijoada has tail, ears, tongue… if you are not keen on pork trimmings just replace it for one or a combination of the other meats used in the dish. 
  • If you can’t find Brazilian Beef Jerky replace it for one or a combination of the other meats used in the dish.   Smoked ham hock works really well too.
  • If you can’t find Paio replace it for Portuguese Chorizo
  • Serve with Rice Pilaf, Stir Fried Kale, Dried Cassava Flour and Orange Slices. 
  • Replace the Cachaça for Vodka if you can’t find it.   

Feijoada Soundtrack (Roda de Samba e Choro):

Feijoada – Brazilian Black Bean Stew
Serves: 20 Cost:$$ | Difficulty:  Medium | Time: 4h plus Overnight
Author: A Classic by Rachel Elich


  • 1/2 Kg Black Beans
  • 250g Brazilian Beef Jerky cut in large chunks
  • 250g Pork trimmings (ears, tail, foot)
  • 250g Smoked pork ribs
  • 250 g Paio sliced
  • 250 g Portuguese Sausage sliced
  • 250 g Pork Loin cut in large chunks
  • 100g Smoked bacon cut in chunks
  • 1 Large Onions finely cut
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 50g Crushed garlic 
  • 1 Red Chili Pepper
  • 1 Orange Seeded, Peeled and cut in four pieces
  • 50 ml of Cachaça
  • Two Tablespoons Oil
  • Salt if needed


  • Start one day before; soak the meats in water overnight changing the water several times.  
  • Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water and leave it for at least 6 hours.
  • Put all the meat in a pot, cover with water and let it boil for 20 minutes.  Drain the water.  (this will reduce the amount of fat and make a lighter dish)
  • Put the Bay Leaves and the whole chilly in a cheese cloth bag
  • Transfer the meat to a very large pot – add the beans,  the cachaça, the orange and the bag with the chilly and Bay cover with water, bring it to boil and reduce to medium-low heat.
  • Stir in the jerked beef and the pork ears.  
  • Half hour later add the pork tail, the pork ribs
  • Half hour later add the pork loin the Portuguese sausage, the Paio and the Bacon
  • Skim any foam that rises to the surface during cooking and add more water if necessary to keep the ingredients covered during cooking.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over hight heat –  stir in the onion and garlic cooking for a couple of minutes until onion is soft and the garlic is fried
  • Add two ladles of the bean broth to the skillet, scrap any bit from the bottom of the skillet and add this mixture to the large pot where the beans and meat are.  Stir well.
  • Keep checking if the meat is tender, you can reserve the ones that are soft until all of them are well cooked and falling off the bones.
  • When the beans and meats are all cooked, return any meat you set aside to the pot and remove the Cheese Cloth with the Chili and the Bay.
  • Slightly Mash one ladle bean in a small bowl, return it to the pot and stir very well (that will make the broth thicker).
  • Return everything to the pot and cook further 10-20 minutes.  
  • Taste the Feijoada and if necessary add salt. 

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