Sunday, October 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Feijoada

One of the fun things about food is that is can take you away to far off places.  I love being able to share a culture, even if I can't be in the location itself.  This month's Daring Cooks' challenge was all about taking a trip through the kitchen.

Rachel Dana was our October 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge hostess! Rachel brought Brazil into our lives by challenging us to make Feijoada and Farofa along with some other yummy side dishes traditionally served with Feijoada, which is a delicious black bean and pork stew.

I know next to nothing about Brazil.  Like, the only contact with Brazilian
culture I can think of is either listening to the cassette tape (remember
those?!) of "Disco Samba" on car trips as a kid and going salsa dancing at
a club called "Brazil's" about a dozen years ago.    And the challenge is for
a bean and pork stew?  Ummm...  Pork doesn't exactly fit in our Kosher/
vegetarian house.   I thought I might sit this one out.  And it looked really
complicated and involved.  Not to say that I think the challenges shouldn't
be, you know, challenging, but it looked like a lot...
But then, as I kind of figured would happen, I decided to go for it.  Rachel
gave us recipes for all of the elements of a traditional feijoada meal.  I
made most of them.  I took one thing at a time, and it turned out to be
nowhere near as overwhelming as I had feared!  In fact, the most
frustrating element for me was the waiting, as two of the dishes were
best cooked right before eating!
Here is how the magic happened.
First, I turned this:
 into this:
This is the onion and garlic base used in the stew and the greens.  And I can see using it is a bunch of other things.  Which is good 'cause there is a bunch leftover!
Then I turned this:
into this:
 A yummy "vinaigrette."  Which is more like a salsa in my experience, but no matter the name, it is good!
Then I turned these:
 into this:
 Collard greens.  Sauteed with some of the onion and garlic base.  Nice.
The main element was turning this:
 into this:
 My black bean and pork stew.  Without the pork.  And with butternut squash.  A bit more liquid-y than it was supposed to be, but oh well.
My favorite part of the meal was the farofa.  Taking this:
 and making it into this:
 It might not look like much, but this onion, egg and corn flour (since I don't have yucca flour) dish was so good.  I want to make it again, and it is going to be so versatile and fun to play with.
All together, we had this on the table:
 (I made some tofu to make up for the missing meat.  I did not make the rice or the hot sauce, but Rachel gave us instructions for both Brazilian elements.)
This meal looked amazing on the plate.
And it tasted just as good.  The only thing we have leftovers of is the stew.
I had so much fun leaning about a new culture and pushing myself to try something I thought would be so far from my comfort zone.  As it turns out, it wasn't so hard, nor was it so strange, and it opened my eyes to something new!
Thank you, Rachel, for this trip to Brazil!  I am looking forward to returning, maybe even for real someday!
If you want to extend your Brazilian journey, I recommend you take a look at what my fellow Daring Cooks created!


  1. When there is a typical non vegetarian dish for the DCs I always want to come running here so that I can see how you "dared" to do it :)
    I'm always amazed! I have a vegetarian friend who uses smoked tofu in her feijoada for added "feijoada flavor".
    You did a wonderful job, Ruth, as always!

  2. Great job making this vegetarian/kosher. It looks really delicious! The whole feast looks like it turned out fantastically! :)

  3. I was a little intimidated at first, too. But, like you said, it was worth the effort. Nice job!

  4. I missed out on cooking along this month, but this looks like a fun one. The black bean/ squash stew sounds especially good.

  5. Good job on the conversion to vegetarian Kosher! Who'd have thought, but flavors can come from many sources.

  6. Your version of feijoada looks delicious even without the meat, adding the tofu more than makes up for it. Great job!

  7. looks great; even sans meat! Nicely done. So glad you guys enjoyed it, we too had enough for left overs! And as for the Farofa I can't wait to make it again either!