Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vegetarian Feijoada

Feijoada is Brazil's national dish and is traditionally made with black or brown beans and many different kinds of fresh and cured meats. It is usually served with rice, a shredded green, such as mustard greens, and with fried pork chops, farofa (manioc crumbs with spices), orange slices, and caipirinhas to cut all the fat and heaviness in your stomach. It is truly a well-designed meal that satisfies!

In the US, it's not easy to find farofa, nor is the many kinds of meats seen as acceptable. So instead of these ingredients, I use bread crumbs and hickory-baked tofu. This version of feijoada is very good and satisfying and is also appropriate for my vegetarian lunch group at work.

Vegetarian Feijoada

Vegetarian Feijoada

Serves 8

1 pound dried black beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
12 ounces baked tofu (hickory or savory flavor), cut into small cubes

Soak beans by covering beans in a bowl with the boiling water, 2 inches above the beans. Let sit for an hour or until the beans have doubled in size. Rinse and drain. Place the beans in a large pot with 4 cups water. Bring water to a boil and cook the beans for 2 hours.

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt. Heat until the onions are starting to brown and the spices become fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until they are soft and incorporated into the mixture. Turn off heat and set aside.

When the beans are finished cooking, they should be soft. Take a cup of beans from the pot and mash with a fork. Return the mashed beans to the pot and mix them well. The gives the dish a creamier texture. Add the cooked onion mixture, the vinegar, the tofu, and adjust salt to taste. Bring back to a bubble and simmer for another twenty minutes or until the stew has reached its desired consistency. Serve with the following:

Mustard Greens
Serves 8
1 bunch mustard greens, washed and sliced as thin as possible

Steam the greens in a bamboo steamer and saute in a skillet with some olive oil and salt. I often also add garlic and red pepper flakes here to taste.

Garlicky Rice
Serves 4, Double to serve 8
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 cloves garlic
1 cup rice
2 cups water
Pinch of salt

Melt butter in a small pot. Add garlic and cook over medium-low heat until soft. Add rice, increase the heat a little, and cook until the rice is translucent. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Bread Crumbs
Choose a few slices of a good bread. I used sourdough this time. After all, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Add bread. Turn off the oven and let it cool. Take out the bread and place in food processor. Process until finely ground. You can add salt and spices, such as oregano.

Sliced Oranges

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