This traditional Brazilian comfort food, Feijoada, is chock full of delicious black beans, vegetables, and three kinds of pork. It’s sure to delight the whole family during the colder months, especially when it is served with my zesty Garlic Butter Rice.
November is the beginning of the holiday season, meaning a time to spend gathering with loved ones. Traditional and comforting dishes are elevated using fresh vegetables and organic grains to ensure a healthy season for all.
My friend Sonia who is from Brazil hosts an annual Feijoada party and we always look forward to it, but she did not host this year due to COVID. Ever since the first time we tasted her magical black bean stew my hubby has begged me to ask for her recipe, so this year was the perfect opportunity to try making it for myself.
When I finally asked for her feijoada recipe, she didn’t have a written recipe and only texted me a list of ingredients and some great tips. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE the kind of “recipes” that are passed down with just the ingredients and require you to instinctually make it delicious!
Although we couldn’t share this meal together with her family this year, I am honored that she shared her special family feijoada recipe with me.
To make things simpler for you all cooking at home, I have narrowed down my proportions for Sonia’s family dish. I hope you make it and love it as much as we do!
I’m excited to announce that I partnered with Lundberg Family Farms! Lundberg Farms rice is easy to prepare, economical, versatile, and a healthy complement to any meal. They have been growing organic, non-GMO, and high-quality grains for nearly a century.
As a brand ambassador, I will be sharing tasty rice-based recipes here on the blog and thrilled to share this Brazilian Feijoada with Garlic Butter Rice.
What is a Feijoada
Brazilian Feijoada (fey-jwah-duh) is a bean and pork (or beef) stew similar to a jambalaya. The name comes from the Portuguese word for beans, feijão. Traditionally made with black beans in Brazil, this hearty stew is a true comfort food.
While there are many different versions of the stew depending on the point of origin — it is often served in Goa, Macau, Mozambique, Timor, Angola and Portugal — the idea is basically the same. Stew delicious meats with beans for a tasty, filling dish.
This feijoada brasileira is sometimes called the national dish of Brazil. After you try it, you’ll know why it is so popular!
Cooking the black beans
Sonia told me that she likes to cook her black beans separately from the stew to help achieve the proper consistency. You can either make the black beans in an Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. Just note that the stovetop version will take much longer if you are using dried black beans.
It is very important to sort through any dried beans prior to use. Not only will you likely find some discolored or shriveled pieces which could affect the taste of your final product, there are also tiny rocks that often make it into the bag. Be sure to remove any of the undesirable pieces and stones from your mix prior to cooking.
Rinsing the beans is also a crucial step. Beans, like other grains, are stored in large silos after harvesting. Rinsing the beans ensures that no animal deposits or bug remnants are mixed in with your yummy food.
While you can soak your beans, it is not necessary if you are using the Instant Pot.
TIP: If you are making the beans on the stovetop, you can expedite the soaking process by bringing the beans to a boil in a few inches of water, then removing from the heat after two minutes of boiling. Allow to soak for an hour, then drain and proceed.
Add the treated beans, salt, onion, garlic, bay leaves and water to the Instant Pot and set it to Manual/Pressure Cook for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 30 to 40 minutes, then season to taste.
TIP: If you are making the beans on the stovetop, add all ingredients to a Dutch oven, then bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until the beans are soft enough to eat.
How to Make This Feijoada Recipe
According to Sonia, feijoada should be made with pork, bacon and a mix of sausages, plus a bit of beef. I opted to make mine a little simpler by just sticking with the pork products.
First up, you’re going to need to render your bacon in a large stock pot on the stovetop. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, then add your bacon pieces and cook until they are crispy and the fat is left in the pan. Remove the chopped bacon and reserve for later use.
TIP: “Render” is just a fancy word for pulling out the yummy fats from a piece of meat.
Next, add your pork cubes to the bacon fat and cook to evenly brown them on all sides. This should take about five minutes.
Add sliced sausages to the pot with the pork and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the sausages are cooked through. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon and set aside with the bacon.
If needed, add a bit more oil to the pan. Sauté the garlic and onion until softened and translucent – about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, then cook for another 3 minutes, until the tomatoes are just beginning to break down and the bell peppers are beginning to soften. Stir in the cilantro and mix together.
Now, add the cooked beans, bean cooking liquid and the reserved meats back to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours until the stew is thick and delicious.
TIP: If your feijoada is still too thin after a few hours, you can mash up some of the beans to release their natural starches to aid in the process. Either take a potato masher to the pot and mash a few times, or use an immersion blender to pulse the mix a few times.
How to serve Brazilian Feijoada
Typically speaking, Brazilian feijoada is served with a dish called farofa, which is a toasted cassava flour that is seasoned with garlic. I wanted to take this idea and make it a little bit more approachable. I served it with Garlic Butter Rice and topped with a sprinkle of panko crumbs.
Lundberg Basmati Rice was the perfect accompaniment for my feijoada side dish. The long grains are ideal for this Garlic Butter Rice preparation because they won’t stick together. I also just love the perfumed scent that basmati has.
First up, you’ll want to make the fried garlic slices. Heat the oil in a large saucepan until shimmering, then add the garlic slices. Stir constantly to keep them from burning. Remove the slices to a paper towel lined plate when they are golden brown.
TIP: Burned garlic has a very pungent bitter flavor. Be sure to watch the garlic very carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn!
Next, add the butter to the saucepan and wait for it to bubble. Add the minced garlic and stir constantly. When the garlic begins to turn golden brown, add the rice and stir to coat it.
Continue to cook the rice in the garlic butter to toast the grains.
Now add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, but leave the lid on for an additional 10 minutes.
Fluff with a fork, then add the crispy garlic slices and sliced green onions. Taste, seasoning with more salt as necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What goes with Brazilian feijoada?
In Brazil, feijoada is served with white rice, orange slices, farofa (garlic toasted cassava flour), and sautéed collard greens. I opted to make a delicious Garlic Butter Rice using Lundberg Organic Basmati rice and sprinkling a bit of panko crumbs atop the beans.
This feijoada would also be delicious served with cilantro lime rice.
Sautéed collard greens and sliced and peeled oranges are highly recommended!
If you are looking for a drink to pair with the feijoada, check out my Strawberry and Passion Fruit Caipirinha for a delicious Brazilian cocktail.
How long will feijoada keep?
As with most stews, feijoada tastes even better after a day or two so the flavors have a chance to meld. The stew will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
When is a good time to serve feijoada?
In my opinion, there’s really no bad time to serve this traditional Brazilian stew. That said, I think it tastes best during the fall and winter months when served for family gatherings.
I’m trying to be healthy. Can I use brown rice instead?
Yes! Lundberg also sells a wonderful brown basmati rice that has a higher fiber content for all you health conscious folks. Just be sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly, as brown rice generally takes longer to cook.
Need some more holiday season inspiration?
Check out these other cozy stews and soups:
- Asado de Chile Colorado (Pork in Red Chile Sauce)
- Chile Verde con Carne y Papas (Green Chile with Beef and Potatoes)
- Carne Adobada
- Pork Green Chile
- Mexican Lentil Soup
- Caldo de Res (Beef Soup)
- Oxtail Soup
If you tried this recipe, please rate and review it below so I know how it turned out! My friend Sonia will also love to know.
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Brazilian Feijoada (Black Bean Stew) with Garlic Butter Rice
- 1 pound dry black beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 onion, quartered
- 2 garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 liters water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound bacon, chopped
- 4 thin pork chops, chopped ½-inch cubes
- 1 (14-ounce) smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- Handful cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Spread the beans over your counter so you can look for beans that are broken, discolored, or shriveled and remove them. There will also be small stones or pebbles that should be sorted out of the beans during this phase. Discard all of the undesirable pieces.
- Place beans in a colander. Rinse the beans thoroughly with cool water for about 3 minutes.
Instructions for Instant pot:
- Place beans (soaked or un-soaked), salt, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and water in Instant Pot.
- Use “manual” setting for 30 minutes of pressure.
- Allow pressure to naturally release, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Season beans to taste.
- In a large (7-quart) Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, add the oil and bacon. Cook until crisp and transfer to a plate.
- Place pork in bacon drippings and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to brown evenly.
- Add sausages and brown with pork for 2 to 3 additional minutes. Set both aside.
- If needed, add more oil to the pan. On medium-high, sauté onion and garlic until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Add cilantro and combine.
- Place cooked beans and liquid to the pot along with bacon, pork, sausages, salt, and pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until liquid is thickened.
- Serve with garlic butter rice and collard greens.
Garlic Butter Rice:
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic slices and sauté, stirring constantly, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
- Add butter and minced garlic until the garlic starts to turn light golden brown and the butter is melted.
- Add rice, stir to coat in garlic butter for 1 to 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice.
- Add broth, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes covered or until liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat but leave lid on. Rest for 10 minutes.
- Fluff with fork and add crispy garlic slices and green onions. Taste, and season with salt if needed.
- 1 pound dry beans = 2 cups dry beans.
- If you are making the beans on the stovetop, add all ingredients to a Dutch oven, then bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until the beans are soft enough to eat.
- If your feijoada is still too thin after a few hours, you can mash up some of the beans to release their natural starches to aid in the process. Either take a potato masher to the pot and mash a few times, or use an immersion blender to pulse the mix a few times.
- The stew will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
This post is in partnership with Lundberg Farms. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.