Brazilian Feijoada

Brazilian FeijoadaFeijoada is the National Dish of Brazil and has a rich urban legend associated with its history which is a slightly romanticized notion of the legends surrounding the creation and ancestry of Feijoada. The myth is linked to the slave days in Brazil where the slaves would be fed only rice and beans.

The legend has it that on holidays the slaves would be given the left-over, and mostly undesirable, parts of the pig, these being the skin, snout, ears, feet and belly. Supposedly the slaves combined these parts with their normally plain beans and feijoada was created. Legend has it that the dish then made its way into the plantation kitchens with an upgrade of pig parts, and later it found its way into restaurants in Rio de Janeiro and was finally adopted as the national dish.

In reality, the dish began in Europe, primarily Portugal, as pork and beans stews making use of the less desirable pork protein to flavor thick bean stews. Once the feijoada made its way to Brazil the usual kidney beans or white beans were switched out for black beans not traditionally used in Europe.

Feijoada makes a great winter stew, thick and flavorful while it’s cold and snowy outside.

Brazilian Feijoada

Put 2 cups of dried black beans in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring the pan to a boil for 2 minutes and remove from the burner. Cover the pot and set aside for 1 hour while you prepare the other ingredients. Cook 4 pieces of applewood bacon until crisp. Once the bacon is cool, crumble and set aside.

Trim 1 lb of boneless pork shoulder and cut the shoulder into 1/2-inch cubes and place on a separate platter, and sprinkle a mixture of 1/8 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of black pepper. Add the pork to the skillet with bacon drippings and sauté 8 minutes over medium-high heat, making sure to brown the meat on all sides.

Place the browned pork in your crock pot  and sprinkle again with 1/8 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of black pepper. Next add 3 trimmed bone-in beef short ribs to the skillet and brown for 3 minutes on each side and add to the crock pot .

Next add 3 cups of finely chopped onion, ½ tsp of salt, 1 1/4 cups of fat-free, chicken broth, 4 minced garlic cloves, and 1 (9-ounce) smoked ham hock and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours remove the ribs from the cooker and set aside for 15 minutes, remove the meat from the bone, and shred with 2 forks. Then return to the crock pot . Remove and dispose of the ham hock and rib bones. Stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and crumbled bacon until mixed and warmed through and serve with 8 orange wedges.

While this does take a lot of prep for a crock pot  meal, it is well worth the time. This is not necessarily a traditional crock pot  dinner from the perspective of preparing a quick easy meal. It just happens to cook in the slow cooker. Prepare on a weekend and serve on Monday if you like this for a fast meal. This is great for a dinner party. The flavors are spectacular. This is sure to become a family favorite.

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