Mention Brazil and you might think about Brazilian steakhouses called churrascarias and caipirinhas cocktails. A visit to this colorful and welcoming country should also include trying feijoada, a rich, smoky bean and meat stew served with rice, collard greens and orange slices, considered the beloved national dish of Brazil.
Brazil has many versions of feijoada, a meat and bean hearty stew, which many consider the national dish of the country. Black beans (feijão means bean) are usually used for this dish but in other parts of the world similar stews are prepared with white or pink beans. The stew is a combination of beans and pork such as ribs, pork belly or knuckle and sausages. Some versions also contain beef and dried meats. While most of us can’t travel to Brazil right now, you may be lucky and have a Brazilian restaurant in your area that serves the bean stew like the one you see in the photo above from Chima Steakhouse in Ft. Lauderdale.. If you do, by all means give feijoada it a try.
If you don’t have a Brazilian restaurant in your neighborhood, unfortunately I don’t, you might want to try cooking a simplified version at home. My black bean and sausage recipe is a quick and satisfying dish that you can easily serve your family on a weeknight. You can do like I did and prepare this Brazilian inspired bean dish using canned black beans, smoked sausages and bacon when you are short on time. If time is not an issue, cook a package of dried beans to use in this recipe. Soak them overnight then cook the beans, using lots of garlic and onions, according to the package directions, then proceed with this recipe or prepare a more complex stew using additional types of meat. The stew is typically served with white rice, sautéed collards greens and sliced oranges. In addition you could also include yucca, finely chopped onion, cilantro, and sliced chili peppers.
Black Beans and Sausage, Brazilian style
Serves 2 generously when served with white rice, adjust the recipe according
- 2 strips thick cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper*, diced (not typically used but I like it for added color and flavor)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- l/2 lb. fully cooked smoked sausage such as Chourico, Linguica, Spanish Chorizo, sliced (Kielbasa may be substituted)
- 1 15 oz. can of black beans, about 2 cups (you can substitute other beans such as pinto)
- 1/2 c., more if needed, chicken stock, vegetable broth or water
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- cilantro for garnish (optional)
Cook bacon in a pot over medium heat and until lightly browned and the fat has rendered. Add the chopped onions and peppers. Sauté until the onions are golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add in the sausages and cook until nicely seared. Add the beans, stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid thickens and the flavors meld, adding a little extra liquid if necessary. Add the olive oil, stir then taste for any additional seasoning, if needed. To serve, remove the bay leaf then garnish with the cilantro, if desired. White rice, sliced oranges or lime wedges and finely chopped onion, as an accompaniment to the bean and sausage stew, can be served along side at the table.
My Brazilian inspired black beans and sausage recipe was inspired by the national Brazilian bean stew known as feijoada. While mine is nowhere near as meaty and doesn’t take hours of preparation like what is traditionally prepared in Brazil, it certainly is a quick, flavorful and satisfying dish to serve your family on a busy weeknight.