When I first learned about feijoada, it was in an episode of Chef’s table highlighting one of Brazil’s top chefs, a forager who is a pioneer for true farm to table eating. To learn about the plants, vegetables and land that are indigenous to Brazil was really interesting and eye-opening.
Feijoada, the national dish of Brazil, is a dish comprised of rice and pork, utilizing all parts of the pig, especially the undesirable parts such as its trotters and hock and many different types of sausages. It is a super hearty, very heavy, and not for the faint of heart type of stew. Typically served with white rice, farofa (toasted flour), collards greens and a slice of orange, it makes for a very filling meal.
But feijoada isn’t only limited to its Brazilian version. I was hosting a Portuguese petisco (read: tapas) party but came to a sneaking suspicion that it would be best to make more food. The last thing you would want at a party is running out of food – am I right?! Since I had made a swift and sound decision, I would need to make something with minimal effort as I had dinner during the eve of the party and was scheduled to work the next morning before the party. For a no-fuss dish, I made a slow cooker feijoada a transmontana.
I was doing some initial research and read that feijoada was actually originated in Portugal! Feijoada a transmontana was created during the 14th century in northern Portugal and provides a foundational basis for other versions found across the world in Brazil, Macau, around Europe. All types of cuts of pork, sausages and beans form the basis of this stew. For the Portuguese, it is commonly made with kidney beans, either red or white, carrots, and topped with cabbage. The cabbage and beans soak up all of the meaty juices and is rich in flavour. Comfort food at its finest.
If I were to make this again, I’d add in the sausage and cabbage in during the last hour of cooking so it doesn’t disintegrate completely and it would have a bit more texture. I also slow cooked this for 12 hours because I was stuck at work but I even think this would be done at 8 hours. Hey, it was completely fall-off-the-bone tender but not dry at 12 which is exactly what I was looking for!
SLOW COOKER FEIJOADA A TRANSMONTANA – serves 8
2 cups dried red kidney beans
2 pork hocks, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper
1 (16oz) pkg smoked bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 smoked sausage, sliced
2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup white wine
½ savoy cabbage, cored and sliced
2 bay leaves
salt + pepper
Soak the dried red kidney beans in water overnight. In the morning, drain and set aside.
Liberally salt and season the pork hocks on all sides. Place in a container and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
In a large skillet, place the diced bacon directly in the pain and turn on the heat to medium-high. Lower the heat down to medium-low when the fats start seeping out the bacon and cook until desired finish. When done, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.
Place the pork hocks in the bacon fat and brown on all sides. Set aside when finished.
Place the bacon, beans, onion and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot with the wine and stock. Place the pork hock and sausage on top of the bean mixture. Add the bay leaves and place the cabbage on the top until the crock pot is filled.
Turn on the crock pot and set to Low for 12 hours. You can check at 8 hours if you’d like. The hock should be tender and can be cut with a spoon. Serve with white rice.