So the first time I cooked beans.. Frank cooked them. He was insistent that we didn’t need to soak them, and then boiled and bubbled the beans on the stove for an indefinite amount of time, before a frustrated husband proclaimed they were “chewable” and that it was dinner time. Those were not good.
The next time we cooked beans I insisted on “quick soaking” the beans. I then cooked the beans forever, threw out the water and began to make the Feijoada. Needless to say, it was a watery mess and I added too much salt.
The final time I cooked beans, I made sure the Marido bought me a pressure cooker. If you are cooking beans as frequently as people do here in Brasil, it doesn’t make sense to cook them on the stove without one -especially when utilities are so expensive here! So, I soaked the beans overnight (this is key not as much so that they’re soft, but so that no one gets gas from your meal!), then threw everything in a pot (purchased a bag of frozen pork parts), and walla 25 minutes later, I had some Feijoada that my husband loved.
In fact last night, my husband called and requested beans and rice in 20, as he was on his way home. I pulled out the pre-soaked beans from earlier this week that I had then popped in the freezer, and popped those into the pressure cooker with some water and spices. It was SUPER easy (not as easy as a can of Bush’s baked but still…) and quick, and my husband gave my feijoada a Brasilian stamp of approval. Frank still salted them.
- 2 pounds dried black beans, picked through and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound salt pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pigs’ feet or 1 lb of ham hocks
- 1 pound pork ribs, separated into individual ribs (sometimes you can also put chunked up bacon in too)
- 1 pound linguica or Chorizo sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 1 bunch of Cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked white rice, for serving
Starting a day ahead, place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water; soak the beans overnight in the refrigerator. In a separate bowl, soak the salt cured pork bits in cool water to cover to tenderize the meat, do this overnight also but change the water a couple of times. Drain the beans and pork, and cut into bits.
Coat a large heavy pot (or the pressure cooker) with the oil and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat, onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook and stir for 5 minutes to render out the fat and soften the vegetables. Add the black beans. Cover with just enough cold water to cover 2 inches. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring now and again. (Slow Cooker users simply turn it on high for a bit and then bring it down to medium-low heat once pressure is built up and cook it for 25 minutes). Once done, skim any foam that rises to the surface during cooking and add more water if necessary to keep the ingredients covered during cooking.
Dig the ham hocks/pork feet out of the pot, discard the rind and fat, shred the meat, and return the ham to the pot. The beans should be really tender, like they are almost bursting.
Chop the green onions and cilantro and add to the beans and let simmer a bit more.
Note: If you choose not to go the “el fatty” way, and leave out the ham hock or pigs feet, mash about 1 cup of the beans against the side of the pot to cream them out and make the feijoado creamier. Give the stew a good stir, taste and check for seasoning.
To serve, serve over white rice.