Slow-Cooker Feijoada (Brazilian-Style Black Bean Stew)
Feijoada (pronounced fay-ZWAH-da) comes from the Portuguese word feijão which means “beans” and is the national dish of Brazil. Feijoada is believed to date back to the 16th century and was born from the fusion of Portuguese traditions with African slaves’ (brought from Africa to work the sugarcane and rubber plantations of Brazil) superb cooking skills, while modified by their restricted availability of food sources. Usually cooking beans in clay pots with pig scraps that their slave owners discarded including the ears, feet, snout, tails, belly, etc. However, this dish, like many others, have evolved over the years, and most modern recipes don’t use of these humbler parts of the pig due to people’s aversion to them. Brazil was part of the Portuguese Empire until it won its independence in 1822, thus there is a lot of Portuguese influence in Brazilian cuisine.
Today this stew is made with rich cuts of assorted pork and beef that are slow cooked with black beans, onions and garlic. It’s then served over rice with orange wedges which provide just the right flavor balance.
This is my version of the traditional Brazilian black bean stew made in the slow-cooker and the flavor is just as rich, smokey and complex. Additional meats, including bacon and sausage, may be added if desired. I have added Portuguese sausage (Linguica). This is excellent served with white long grain rice.
- 12 ounces dried black beans (black turtle beans)
- 8 cups water
- 1 9-ounce smoked ham hock
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 5 bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed (about 1-2 pounds
- 8 ounces Portuguese sausage (Linguica)
- 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups chopped Spanish onions (3 medium)
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper, divided
- Hot cooked rice (optional)
- Farofa (toasted manioc flour) (optional)
Rinse beans. In a large saucepan combine beans and the water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or place beans in water in saucepan. Cover and let soak in a cool place overnight.) Drain and rinse beans. Place beans in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Sprinkle pork evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In skillet; cook the pork 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown all over. Transfer the pork to a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle ribs evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add ribs to skillet; cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in slow cooker. Add ham hocks, sausage, broth, onions, jalapeño peppers, garlic, ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, orange zest and orange juice.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
Shred meat with 2 forks (you can do this by removing the pork and ribs from the slow cooker or just digging in and shredding amid the broth and beans). Remove and discard ham hock. Add the meat back into the slow cooker, if you removed it for shredding. If the feijoada is too liquidy, uncover the pot and continue to cook on high for another 20 minutes or so to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Stir in vinegar and cilantro. Serve with hot, cooked rice, Farofa (toasted manioc flour) and orange wedges. Garnish with cilantro.
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