Our friend Tuany‘s mom, Rita, came to visit from Brazil and while she was here, we got to cook an old-fashioned feijoada together! Feijoada is a famous beans-and-meat dish of Portuguese origin. It’s similar to several old-world bean stews like French cassoulet and Spanish fabada. In Brazil, it’s usually made with black beans along with lots of sausages, cured meats, and sometimes ham hocks, pigs’ feet, ribs, and/or beef tongue. Collard greens — couve — are the green vegetable.
Almost any smoked pork or beef sausage will work here and it’s nice if you get a medley of two or three or more varieties. Cut the sausage links into different shapes or sizes so you can differentiate them at the end. We used linguiça and paio.
Linguiça I think is a fairly well-known sausage by now — coarsely ground, heavily paprika-ed, similar to Spanish chorizo — but the paio was something I had never seen before! The texture reminded me of a salted country ham with big, lean chunks of meat inside the casing. It was really good. Worth hunting down, I think.
We also used a package of “feijoada mix” which is odds and ends of bacon and sausages. If you can’t get that, some salt pork or thick-cut bacon will do fine.
But, the word comes from feijão, Portuguese for “beans” . . . Never forget that! Ultimately, the beans are the namesake ingredient so if you don’t have a Brazilian market nearby, something like kiolbassa, andouille or Spanish (dried) chorizo will do just fine. Get whatever sausages you like and get on with it.
You might notice there is no salt added in the bean and meat pot. That’s because there is so much salt in the sausages and bacon. Before you serve, taste the bean broth to make sure it’s salty enough.
Sliced oranges are served alongside to aid digestion. And a seasoned, toasted tapioca flour topping called farofa is usually served on top of the rice and beans. I have linked below to some of these ingredients on Amazon if you’d like to try them and can’t find them locally.
Feijoada has a reputation for being an ordeal, but it’s not so bad. It takes about 3 hours start to finish, but a lot of that time is just sort of waiting for beans to cook so it gives you plenty of time to hang out. There are many dirty dishes at the end, but surely someone at your party likes to wash dishes, right?
If you like, make some pão de queijo (cheese bread!) to keep small children at bay while you cook. And for dessert, try brigadeiro (chocolate candy) because you can make it the day before so that’s easy!
Making feijoada with Rita (Video)
- 1 pound black beans
- 24 ounces mixed, smoked sausages (see notes above) sliced
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 cups parboiled white rice
- 1-2 cubes chicken bouillon
- 6 cups hot water, divided
- 2 bunches collard greens
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillion