Continente Prawn Feijoada (A Ready Meal!)
OK, I concede it would be fair to ask why a food blog is writing about a ready meal, but allow me to justify myself:
We currently have a 4.5-month-old baby, and are in the middle of moving house. Also, because my wife is breastfeeding said baby, she’s not allowed shellfish, and I’m very much missing the presence of prawns on the table at least a couple of times a week.
This perfect storm of circumstance has led me to seek solace in the every-increasing selection of ready-meals in our local Continente supermarket, and I’ve started eating their prawn feijoada once a week for lunch.
Feijoada is a bean stew, and I’m not going to try to say whether it originates in Portugal or Brazil, as doing so always seems to incite a fierce debate. It’s often made with dark beans and meat, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the prawn variation after first trying it at a seaside restaurant in Manta Rota some years ago.
The Continente version isn’t massively exciting, but it is satisfying. It’s a bit of a cheat to call it “prawn” when the fish within is actually a mixture of tiddly prawns and surimi (basically crabsticks). It’s also a little bland, but perks up immeasurably with a sprinkling of fresh coriander and some generous seasoning.
Best of all, given our current hectic life, it’s ready in under five minutes, accompanied with some equally lazy microwave rice.
Ready meals are still very new in Portugal. In our local supermarket, they share a small eight-foot section with ready-made soups and pastry. I’d hate to see them emerge to the extent that they have in the UK, as I’d rather have aisles of fresh ingredients to work with. However, sometimes you need something quick and easy, and this allows me to eat a few prawns each week without provoking jealousy in my wife.
In order to restore my credibility after this admission, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that we’ve already posted a recipe for home-made feijoada here on the blog!