Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Feijoada (Brazilian pork stew)

Second recipe in a row that's Not Cake. See? I can do it.

Another BBCGF recipe, again not on the website yet, but there are a million recipes for feijoada out there, describing it as pork & black bean stew. Mine was different, because I forgot to put the black beans in... did most of the prep earlier in the day but decided not to drain the beans as I had no more fridge space, then during cooking got sidetracked by dish size issues, and forgot them. (That said, due to the dish size issues I don't know where I would have put them...)

 "Start by getting your biggest flameproof casserole" begins the recipe. Which is a fairly poor way to start if, like me, you have only one flameproof casserole dish and it's only medium sized. So my first tip for next time is to make only 4 portions, not 6. I *think* it's a 2.6 litre dish, and this recipe left it brim-full without the beans.

In any case, the result was a lovely, slow-cooked dish with tender meat, soft veg, and a nice thick sauce. It was very tasty and tangy, and extremely satisfying.

I don't think there are many adjustments to be made to the taste, as we thought it was pretty good. Maybe a bit orange-heavy, as it was very reminiscent of pork in orange sauce, but that's not necessarily bad. I'd like to try it with the black beans before making any changes. I also omitted celery this time as I didn't have any. The dumplings were fluffy but would benefit from some salt, and I'm not sure about the extra polenta on the outside which was very crunchy. I wonder whether they really need buttermilk or could just use yoghurt, as you have to buy more buttermilk than you need and then have to find a way to use it.

Update: on reheating for the next time, I added the beans. They are definitely worth adding, bulk it out and tone down the orange a bit. I don't think I'll tweak anything next time except the dumplings.

Ingredients for 6, including dumplings but omitting the onion relish from the original recipe.

900g diced pork shoulder
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped.
3 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp each cumin, coriander, allspice
1 pork stock cube
2 400g tins tomatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 orange, zest & juice
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 red chillies, halved lengthwise & seeded or not, as you prefer
2 400g tins black beans, drained & rinsed
400g sweet potato, peeled & chopped
2 peppers, chopped

100g chilled butter, cubed
200g self raising flour
140g polenta
140g tinned sweetcorn (small can), drained
0.5 tsp bicarb
75ml buttermilk (or yogurt/sour cream?)
1 egg, beaten

Brown the meat in batches. Soften the onion & celery with the oregano & bay leaves. Add the spices, wait a minute, then add browned meat, plus tomatoes, orange, cocoa, vinegar, sugar, chillies, stock cube. Simmer 1 hour.

Add sweet potatoes, peppers, and simmer for  another 30 mins.

Meanwhile: Rub flour & butter to breadcrumbs, mix in polenta, bicarb and sweetcorn. Add buttermilk & most of egg (reserve some to brush tops). Mix to a workable dough, split into 12 and roll into balls, coating in more polenta.

Preheat oven to 180°C (fan). Stir beans into casserole, taste & season. Put 6 dumplings on casserole, and the rest on parchment/greaseproof in a tin, then brush them with the remaining egg. Bake for 25 mins.

Preparing ahead: in various snatched moments during the day I combined the tomatoes, orange, sugar, chillies, cocoa and stock cube; peeled and chopped the onion, sweet potato and pepper; combined the spices. But with the batch browning of meat ahead of the long cooking time, this is really a weekend recipe even with the prep.

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