Feijoada is probably the most loved Brazilian dish, by Brazilians and foreigners alike. This is the dish I make the moments that I am feeling homesick and need to reconnect with my country and culture. This is also the dish I make if someone ask me to make an authentic Brazilian meal. The Feijoada represents the mixture of races and cultures that founded Brazil since colonial times. Says the legend that the Africans brought the black beans, the Portuguese the chorizo and cured meats and the indigenous Indians brought the cassava flour for the farofa (feijoada side dish).
It is a beautiful dish, no question. It is packed with the most delicious combination of flavors – bacon, smoked pork, ribs, black beans, garlic, bay leaves – this dish is surprisingly simple to prepare and you can cut a lot of the cooking time with a little help of our good old friend the pressure cooker.
The anatomy of a good feijoada will start with good quality black beans. I find organic brands to usually taste better than conventional (maybe it’s my imagination, but still that is what I usually go with). And then we have “the meats”… when I make feijoada in Brazil I will always include Portuguese chorizo and a hand full or cured meats for flavor (and saltiness). However, those specialty ingredients are not that easy to find here in the US, so I developed this pork ribs and smoked sausage version that I can make with ingredients that I can easily find at local groceries.
Brazilian Feijoada with Pork Ribs (Black Bean Stew)
- Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
- 16 oz black beans (dry)
- 3 lbs baby back ribs
- 15 oz Pork and Beef smoked sausage
- 3 slices bacon thick
- 1/2 onion
- 4 gloves garlic
- 3 Bay Leave
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cups water
- 2 ts salt (or to taste, add at the end)
- Soak the dried beans for 6 hours or overnight. Place the beans in a large bowl, soak with cold water (enough to keep them covered for the whole soaking process, usually a couple inches above the beans is enough). Rinse and drain.2. Prep the meats and veggies and bring water to boil. Cut the sausage in 1/2 inch rounds. Cut the bacon slices into small pieces. Chop the onion and garlic. 3. In a large pot or Dutch Oven, brown the pork ribs (whole pieces with bones) in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and set aside on a plate.4. Add the drained beans, browned ribs, bay leaves and water to a pressure cooker and cook on medium low under pressure for 20 minutes. Note: It is OK if the beans are still a bit tender since we will still cook it in a pot later.5. While the beans cook, add the bacon, sausage, onion and garlic to the same large pot or Dutch Oven you used to brown the pork. Cook it for about 7 minutes until starts to brown. 6. Remove the pork from pressure cooked and the bones should right off. Remove all the bones shred the ribs slightly with a fork and transfer ribs and beans to the large pot. Cook all ingredients together for additional 15 – 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick.7. Serve with white rice, collard greens, farofa, orange slice and vinaigrette.