Celebrate the Independence Day of Brazil in style!
“Often considered to be the national dish of Brazil, this is an outrageously good combination of pork and beans, slow-cooked to perfection, which traditionally includes the extra odds and ends from the pig so that absolutely nothing goes to waste. You’ll easily find all these ingredients at your butcher’s – smoked ribs are sold in Portuguese and Brazilian butchers up and down the country, but if you can’t get them, simply use regular ribs instead. I’m excited to share my Brazilian brother Almir Santos’ recipe here – he’s a wonderful man, a fantastic cook, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with him since I was twenty years old. Get a crowd together – double or treble this recipe if you like – and have a party. ”
The day before, place the black beans in a large pan, cover with plenty of water and put the lid on. Do the same with the chunks of pig’s ear, tail and trotter, then leave both to soak overnight.
The next day, place the black beans pan on the hob, topping up with water to cover the beans if needed, then bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 30 minutes (it’s important to keep them in the same water to achieve the most vibrant colour).
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Heat a splash of olive oil in a very large casserole pan on a medium-high heat, drain and add the chunks of pig’s ear, tail and trotter and pork belly and fry for 15 minutes, or until golden and gnarly.
At this point, go in with three-quarters of the chopped onions, and all the garlic, bay leaves and paprika.
Slice up the bacon and chorizo 2cm thick, cut the ribs up, then add it all to the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
When the time’s up, pour the beans into the meat pan with enough of their cooking water to cover everything nicely. Cook on a low heat for 3 hours, or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally, and topping up with a little more water, if needed.
To make the salsa, peel the onion, deseed the tomatoes and pepper, then very finely chop them with the top leafy half of the parsley, mixing as you go. In a bowl, dress with the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, then taste and season to perfection.
Just before you’re ready to serve, tear off the leaves of the spring greens, roll up and slice them 1cm thick, then cook with the remaining chopped onions and a splash of olive oil in a large pan on a high heat for 5 minutes.
Season the feijoada to taste, then serve with fluffy rice, your spring greens, salsa and plenty of cold beers. To be truly authentic, you want a little bowl of toasted cassava flour on the side to dip each mouthful in, and some hot pickled chillies. Santos also recommends a few fresh wedges of orange to cut through the intensity of the sauce – delicious.