Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feijoida - My Way

Beans, though my boys declare them "the magical fruit" are about the most unglamourous food you could possibly eat.  Even though foods such as fish eggs and goose liver when called by their actual name are unglamourous also, call them caviar and foie gras and they take on a bit of cache. Beans just don't.  Even the Tuscans, as beautiful as their home is, can't get past the nickname Beaneaters (Mangiafagioli - which, on second thought, when said by a beautiful Italian does have cache).  Regardless, our family eats them in one form or another because they are one of the healthiest and least expensive forms of protein we can eat.

I always keep at least two or three kinds of beans in my pantry.  On a good day when I remember to think ahead, I soak and cook them, freezing some and using the rest for an immediate meal. Feijoida is a Brazilian feast dish comprised of black beans and several meats accompanied by sautéed collard greens, rice and fresh orange segments.  I had been meaning to create a version for quite some time, but just never did it.  Since I have been getting about 5 pounds of oranges and tangerines each week from our farm and this week happened to also receive collard greens, I knew it was time to do it. (Incidentally, when you consume vitamin C-containing foods with iron-rich foods like collard greens or spinach, your body absorbs both nutrients better.  Maybe that's why they are both served with this dish!  Or maybe just because it tastes good?!)

Since I choose to use meat more as a supporting actor than the “star” of a dish, I decided to use a little pork fat in a couple of forms to flavor the meat rather than shelling out the cash to buy pork loin, sausages, brisket and the like.  (In Brazil, it’s normally more of a meat centered dish, much like cassoulet in Southwest France.)

My kids actually love beans and totally dug this recipe.  Surprisingly they even liked the oranges with it.
So here it is and yes, you can use canned beans if you choose to keep those in your pantry (See the List) instead of dried.

CWYG Stats – beans, chorizo (the dried Spanish type, not fresh Mexican), ham (I had frozen some from Christmas), olive oil, onions, garlic, rice
Veggie Box – Oranges, collard greens
Store Run – Nothing

Feijoida – My Way
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped finely, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 ounces chorizo, chopped
1 cup chopped leftover ham, crumbled bacon, smoked turkey, whatever you have
6 cups black beans with cooking liquid (4 cans)
1 bunch collard greens, stem removed and sliced thinly
½ cup chicken broth
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
6 cups cooked white or brown rice
2-3 oranges, segmented

In a large pot, sauté ¾ of the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp of the olive oil until softened.  Add the chorizo and ham.  Add the black beans and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes while you finish preparing remaining ingredients.

For the greens:  Heat the remaining onion and olive in a large skillet until it is softened then add garlic and cook until the onions and garlic are browning, but not turning black at all.  Add the greens and chicken broth. 
Toss to coat thoroughly then reduce heat and cook until the greens are tender and the broth has totally cooked down.  Add the cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Serve over rice and top with oranges.

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