Slow-simmered bean, cabbage and pork stew

Slow-simmered bean, cabbage and pork stew

Feijoada

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Serves
4
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A well-made feijoada, in my opinion, is a fantastic thing: a bean and cabbage stew with a bit of cured meat dotted around. My version is fresher and more fragrant than the traditional one and, thanks to the types of meat used, the cooking time is reduced. I use dried beans, as the cooking liquor adds extra flavour to the dish, but if you’re in a hurry, a tin of good-quality beans is not going to spoil anything.

This recipe uses chouriço and morcela (blood pudding), but if you can’t find either of these just use Spanish chorizo and British black pudding. You could also add some streaky bacon. Serve the feijoada with a piece of crusty bread and a glass of Portuguese red wine.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
180g dried beans
or 2 x 400g tins beans
A pinch bicarbonate of soda
1 shallot, halved
1 carrot, halved
1 celery stick, cut into large chunks
1 garlic clove, halved
1 bay leaf
200g pork belly, diced

For the feijoada

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 bay leaf
200g chourico, (skin removed), diced
250g morcela, cut into thick slices
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
or 6 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
100g savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
a large handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
smoked paprika, to taste
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans overnight in plenty of cold water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to help soften them. The next day, drain the beans and put them in a pan with the shallot, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and pork belly. Cover with water and cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes–1 hour, or until tender. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the cooking liquid. Season the cooking liquid while they cool (if you season them during cooking, the skins will harden). Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.
  2. To make the feijoada — Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook gently for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper and paprika and cook until all the vegetables are soft. Add the chouriço, morcela and pork belly (if you are using tinned beans, and therefore have not cooked it with the dried beans), increase the heat and cook for 5 minutes, until the meat starts to brown and some of the fat melts out, enhancing the flavour.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir well. When the tomatoes have sizzled and reduced, pour in 500ml of the bean-cooking liquor and 500ml water (if you have used tinned beans, use 1 litre water). Bring to the boil and skim as necessary, taking care not to remove the delicious fat, then turn down the heat to low. Stir in the beans and gently simmer for 1–1 1/2 hours, or until the pork belly is tender all the way through.
  4. Stir in the cabbage and continue to cook for 5–6 minutes, or until tender. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some paprika and chopped parsley on top of each serving. If you have excess liquid left after serving, you could use it as the base for a soup.
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