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Portuguese Recipes – Feijoada

Feijoada - traditional Portuguese food

Feijoada is one of my favourite Portuguese meals. It is a hearty and filling bean stew that you can find numerous variations of across the country, as well as in Brazil and many former Portuguese colonies.

Feijoada - traditional Portuguese food

Feijoada – traditional Portuguese food

Feijoada is often made with pork, but I’ve also tried some wonderful seafood versions. It is the kind of dish that each family has their own recipe for, as the ability to use different types of beans, parts of pig or combinations of seafood mean that there are a huge number of variables. It can be as cheap or as expensive to make as you like, depending upon your chosen ingredients.

I made a fairly inexpensive version, using two types of Portuguese sausage (chouriço and linguiça) and two types of beans. The chouriço gave the dish a wonderful smoky flavour and a deep, rich colour.

Feijoada - simple ingredients

Feijoada – simple ingredients

I based my recipe on one from the lovely cookbook Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Patuleia Ortins, with a couple of variations as I went along. The result was well received – I served it with a hunk of crusty Portuguese bread and by the end of the meal the pan had been all but licked clean.

As with a lot of popular recipes in Portugal, this dish turns relatively simple and cheap ingredients into something filling and delicious. The quantities listed below happily fed five of us.

800g tin white beans
400g tin kidney beans
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 very ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp paprika
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
700g mixed chouriço and linguiça
¼ cup red wine
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Water, as needed

Feijoada - lots of lovely paprika

Feijoada – lots of lovely paprika

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until golden. Add the tomatoes, paprika, garlic and bay leaf, then simmer over a low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes.
2. Squish the contents of the pan a bit with a wooden spoon, then add the mixed sausage and cook uncovered for a few minutes, before adding the wine and cooking for a couple more minutes.
3. Add the potatoes to the pan, along with enough water to cover them. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
4. Stir in the white beans and ensure they are covered (you can add a little more water if needed). Simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the kidney beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes, then serve.

Note: the white beans should have pretty much dissolved by the time you serve this, which adds a lovely thick and creamy texture to the dish.