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While dining at Gloria’s Portuguese restaurant recently, Pete and I tried a wonderful traditional dish known as feijoada.  It was a rich smoky combination of fresh and salted meats, slow-cooked with beans.

I was keen to try making it at home, but most of the recipes I found online were for Brazilian feijoada, which is apparently quite different to the Portuguese version.  In the end I settled on this recipe and adapted it to the ingredients I could find locally.  It was a roaring success, with the boys asking me to make it again as they were eating it!

  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 can beans, drained and rinsed (kidney beans would be good, I used butter beans)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 crushed cloves garlic
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 chorizo, sliced
  • 1 rack smoked ribs, cut into riblets
  • 2 pork hocks, rind removed
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • salt and pepper (optional)

Note: the original recipe quite charmingly advises to use “Assorted meat of personal choice (universally it is pork knee, pork sausage and salted dry beef)” . I think some smoked or cured meat is required to give the dish its unique flavour.

Also, I only added canned beans because I felt halfway through that the dish needed more beans.  When I make this again, I’ll double the quantity of dried black beans and omit the tinned.

1. Drain the black beans and put them into a large stock pot.  Add the meat, bay leaves and parsley.  Add enough water to generously cover the meat, then put the lid on and bring the pot to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for a couple of hours.

2. In a separate pan, heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, carrots and fresh tomato until soft.   Ladle some liquid and softened black beans from the stockpot  into the fry pan and mash the vegetables and beans together. Pour this all back into the stock pot, along with the drained canned beans (optional) and tomato passata.  Continue cooking for at least an hour longer, or until the pork is tender and falling off the bone.  Taste and adjust for seasoning (I didn’t have to add anything).

3.  Accompany this with steamed rice, napping the meat with extra sauce before serving.

This is the first time I’ve tried to make feijoada, and I’m certainly not holding this recipe up as authoritative.  It’s really more a record of our attempt. If you have any tips on how we can improve our version or make it more authentic, please let me know!

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Migas, which translates to crumbs in English, varies widely across Spain, but the fundamental ingredient in all incarnations is fried bread.  The recipe is easily adaptable, and was featured recently on Wild Gourmets in Spain. It’s a great way to use up leftover cottage loaves!

This is the traditional breakfast of the shepherds who tend the Manchega sheep in La Mancha, as it’s made from easily transportable ingredients.  Here’s my take on it…

  • chorizo sausage
  • paprika, preferably smoked
  • stale bread, torn into bite-sized chunks
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • eggs
  • Manchego, or other hard sheeps milk cheese

Note: the original recipe used Spanish chorizo, a smoked cured meat, similar to salami.  I couldn’t find one that I liked, so I’ve gone for an Italian style chorizo, which is a fresh sausage that needs to be cooked before eating.  Alternatively, you could use salami, bacon or a different fresh sausage.

1. Sprinkle the bread with a little water if it’s dry.  Set aside.

2. In a large frypan, heat a good lug of olive oil and fry the onion and garlic, then add the chopped chorizo.  Fry until the chorizo starts to cook and releases some of its oil.  Add a little paprika – this adds a lovely colour and flavour to the dish and helps to compensate for the lack of paprika in non-Spanish chorizos.

3. Add the bread and fry until well coloured and crisp.  Spoon out onto serving dishes.  Top each plate with a fried egg and a few slices of cheese, then season with freshly ground black pepper.  Very moreish!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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