Brasil: pão de queijo, feijoada completa (feijoada, arroz branco, farofa de dende, banana de terra, couve, laranga, pimenta malagueta), brigadeiro, mousse de maracujá, doce de leite, caipirinhas, guaraná
I love Brasilian food. I was introduced to it in Philly and now I keep an eye out for Brasilian restaurants when I travel. I’ve been looking forward to making this meal for some time and have had the menu in mind all along. Last month the Rochester Brainery (which is awesome, by the way!) offered a class on making feijoada, the classic Brasilian dish. I was thrilled, since I already had this meal planned. Mallory Ferland taught the class and did an excellent job, and I furiously took notes.
I shopped for ingredients at the International Food Market in Rochester, which has a surprisingly good supply of Brasilian ingredients.
(Note: the picture of the passion fruit juice (maracujá) above is the wrong thing – I had to go back the morning of the meal and buy the concentrate rather than the juice. #worthit)
What a fantastic group I had for the dinner! We maxed out at 15 adults again (plus another super cute baby). Most people didn’t know more than a few other people, so it was fun to bring people together from different facets of my life. My friend Angela, who I know from Philly, was visiting for the weekend. We had so much fun cooking together, and she was such a good sport about spending the whole weekend in the kitchen! She was around when I first started this project, was at my very first meal, and has been so enthusiastic about it all along. I love cooking with her and we had a blast being in the kitchen together again. I’m regretting not getting any pictures of the two of us, or anyone that night for that matter.
About half the guests were newbies to my international meals, so I explained to them that my hostessing style is
messy and chaotic “casual.” The kitchen is a mess when guests arrive, the food isn’t yet ready, I might put you to work, and I’m so glad you’re here and I want you to feel comfortable and welcome.
(as I’m posting this I’m seeing my typos in the menu!)
We started off with pão de queijo as an appetizer. This is a cheese bread that is made with cassava flour. I bought frozen pão de queijo as a backup in case our homemade version didn’t work, and for awhile it was looking like we might need it. I was using google translate to try to translate Portuguese to English, but was getting things like “six cups of tea,” and the dough was literally jumping out of the kitchenaid mixer as we made it (video evidence on facebook).
Thankfully, it worked and the backups remained in the freezer.
They were gobbled up quickly.
Next up: feijoada completa.
This is the national dish of Brasil, and it’s considered to be an event. It’s only served on Wednesdays and Saturdays (though the days vary depending on the region/city) because it’s such a process to make. Feijoada Completa consists of feijoada (black beans and pork – plus beef in the US since we can’t get all the same meats that are available in Brasil), arroz branco (white rice), farofa de dende (cassava flour in red palm oil), banana de terra (friend plantains), couve (sauteed collard greens), laranga (sliced oranges), and pimenta malagueta (Brasilian hot sauce). All the recipes for the feijoada components are from Mallory Ferland. This recipe serves 8 (I doubled this recipe).
1 lb dry black beans
10 cups water (I used 2 cups beef broth + 8 cups water)
1 lb baby back pork ribs (cut into individual ribs)
1 lb beef ribs (cubed)
2 chorizo sausages (cut in discs)
1 lb smoked ham hocks
2 chopped onions
2 tbsp chopped garlic
8 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste (wait to salt until end)
2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add olive oil. Dice onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add bay leaves and pepper.
- Cut ribs into individual pieces (slice down between each rib bone). Add ribs, ham hocks and dry rinsed beans (prepped the day before by soaking in water according to directions) to stock pot, saute for a few minutes.
- Add water (and broth if using) to stock pot and stir. Bring to a boil.
- Once full boil is reached, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 4 hours. Add sliced chorizo sausage and simmer for 2 more hours.
- Check to make sure means are fully cooked. Salt to taste. Remove 1-2 cups beans from the pot and puree in a blender or mash with a potato masher. Return pureed beans to stock pot and stir (I totally forgot this last step of pureeing the beans!)
LOTS of garlic!
1 large bundle collard greens
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and thinly slice collards into long strips
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan until garlic starts to brown. Add collards and stir.
- Cook over medium heat until greens diminish in bulk, usually around 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Farofa de dende
2 cups farofa flour
2 tbsp red palm oil
1 tbsp garlic
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat red palm oil in saute pan, when hot add garlic. Saute until lightly browned.
- Add farofa and mix. Let sit for a few minutes and stir again. When the farofa appears dry (all the oil has been cooked off) it is finished. To test, shaek the pan. If it moves round finely it is finished. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Brasilians have a saying that if you don’t like a dish, just add farofa to it!
(picture fail of finished product)
Banana de terra frita
2 plantains (yellow and very ripe – brown spots good!)
2 tbsp coconut oil
salt to taste
- Chop plantains into half inch size cubes
- Heat coconut oil in a large saute pan. Fry plantains on each side until golden brown. Remove and let cool on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt to taste. (picture fail of finished product)
I also made a vegetarian feijoada since I had several vegetarian guests. I did the same first step of the feijoada (oil, garlic, onion, bay leaves) then added the beans and water and vegetable stock as well as a chipotle pepper (in adobo) to get the smoky flavor. I simmered that until the beans were tender, then added chopped sweet potato, red bell pepper, and zucchini and simmered until the veggies were tender. Finally, lots of salt and pepper. If I made this again I’d add soy chorizo.
I used white rice from Brasil and made it in the rice cooker. First, put white rice on the plate, scoop feijoada on top, then put all the toppings on and enjoy!
Feijada is best accompanied by caiprinhas.
The first time I tried mousse de maracujá (passionfruit mousse) I licked the bowl.
I adjusted this recipe to match what some other recipes showed and used just 1 1/2 cans of the table cream for a double recipe. I also chilled it for several hours. It was a little loose so I think it would have been good to chill even longer and I should have put some fresh passionfruit on top to make it prettier. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s seriously delicious.
We also made brigadeiro – a chocolate truffle essentially. These require smothering your hands in butter to roll them out – so fun!
Finally, I served the doce de leite that I’d made last week for Chile, since that’s also common in Brasil.
Once again, I failed to take pictures of the group. But, we had such a fun evening and I felt so honored to host and feed everyone. Someone asked me why I call my project “couch cuisine.” I explained that I came up with the idea in grad school when I couldn’t afford to travel much, and I decided I could do my best to explore the world by sitting on my couch learning about the cuisines and cultures of other countries by surfing online, then cooking those recipes and sharing meals with friends. Philip said he thought “couch cuisine” meant that I was inviting friends into my home to enjoy food together in a casual atmosphere of sitting on the couch to eat. I like that better! For this meal we had 10 of the 15 people squished together on my couches, balancing plates of food and glasses of wine, smiling, laughing, connecting, bouncing a baby, listening to Brasilian music, and eating. Couch cuisine indeed. I’m grateful.