By Patrick Stuart [email protected]
A good feijoada is one of the most heart-warming, delicious and authentic of Portuguese dishes.
It is traditionally made with dried beans, rehydrated for the occasion, and a mixture of cured and uncured pork meat with lots of offal. Other variations like feijoada de gambas (prawns) or my favourite feijoada de buzinas (whelks) show how versatile this bean stew base can be.
But it can also be whipped up very quickly using tinned kidney beans (either red or white will do) and some cheap pork belly as the main ingredients, leaving out the offal that often puts us estrangeiros off.
Here is a simple and very versatile recipe.
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 kilo of pork belly (entremeada) cut into cubes and rind removed
Approx. 500grs tinned beans (feijão)
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 heaped teaspoon paprika
Approx. 250grs cured pork (a mix of bacon chunks and chouriço)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 glass white wine
Salt to taste
Fresh parsley or coriander to garnish
In a large saucepan, brown the pork belly meat with the cured meats for a few minutes then add the onions, garlic, bay leaf and paprika. Cook gently until the onions have softened. Drain the tinned beans and rinse (discard the liquid). Add to the pan with the tomato and a glass of wine. Bring to the boil over a high heat, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook covered for one hour. And that’s it! Season to taste and garnish with coriander or parsley. A touch of piri-piri also goes well.
For a more luxurious but equally simple feijoada, add some shelled prawns and/or clams towards the end of cooking. Although not traditional with feijoada, the surf and turf mix of pork with seafood works just as well here as it does with a cataplana.