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We head from Ireland, South West to Brazil Famous for its beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema and its wild carnivals with showy, colourful costumes and the samba…

20151031_191407The Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest country in the Latin American area and South America and is the fifth largest country by inhabitants and geographical area. Portuguese is spoken and it is the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world…The Atlantic Ocean is to the East and Brazil’s coastline is approximately 7.5 km, which equals to around 4.500 miles. Chile and Ecuador are the only countries that do not boarder Brazil. Home to many different wildlife species, a mixture of environmental systems and large natural reserves straddling many protected habitats.

Before the explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral arrived in 1500 and took the area for the Portuguese Empire Brazil was home to numerous tribal nations – read here for more information. In 1808 the capital was moved from Lisbon to the Rio De Janeiro. In 1815 was lifted to a Kingdom and the configuration of The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. There was only a short period until 1822 when independence was gained and the formation of the Empire of Brazil. 1824 saw the National Congress formed, it became a Presidential Republic in 1889. 1964 saw junta in power and Brazil as we know it today was devised in 1988 which has 26 states and 5,570 administrative divisions…Until 2010 Brazil had one of the quickest growing economies and is the initial member of the UN and the G20 and for the last 150 years the largest producer of coffee.

The cuisine of Brazil has influences from Africa, Europe and Amerindian. The food differs by area and region, this mirrors the countries mix of the immigrant population, indigenous people and its continental size, creating a national gastronomy indicated by the protection of differences throughout the regions.

Cassava, Quarana, Acai, Cashew and Cassava were ingredients first used by the indigenous folk and then immigrants brought some of their own characteristic dishes and swapping anything they could source with something local. Europeans, African slaves and Japanese helped develop Brazilian cooking.

Typical dishes from Brazil include feijoada which is considered as Brazil’s national dish, especially in Rio…There are also regional foods, and the national drink is coffee and the indigenous alcohol/spirit is cachaça.

So how more fitting than to cook the national dish for todays lunch, so Feijoda it is… 

Brazilian feijoada is traditionally prepared with black beans and a variety of salted pork or beef products, such as pork trimmings – ears, tail, feet – bacon, smoked ribs and two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef – loin and tongue.

The recipe we used – which is linked above – uses Chorizo, pork ribs, streaky bacon and pork shoulder cut into chunks.
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All the meat is browned in oil in batches and removed form the pan and with each batch the smell is amazing.DSCF2093

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The onions and garlic cooked until soft and immediately take on the red colour of chorizo that has seeped from the sausage, followed by the chilli flakes and other ingredients. The aromas have filled the kitchen, in fact the whole house. Our eldest son is on night shifts and came down to tell us the gorgeous smells had woken him and it smells amazing..

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The browned meat is returned to the pan with the beans – we couldn’t get hold of any black beans so used black eyed peas instead. Am sure this isn’t going to spoil the stew..DSCF2100 DSCF2103

The chorizo has given the stew this beautiful red colour and a smokey flavour. We opted to cook the stew in the oven, so in it goes for around 2 hours to let the juices infuse into the meats…So looking forward to this. 🙂

The finished result when pulled from the oven looked amazing, the smell was mouth watering. The recipe said serve with rice, hot chilli sauce and orange slices, sprinkled with parsley or coriander…Only that taste test would tell us what is was really like.

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Creme de Papaya is a timeless dessert from Brazil that can be found on the menus of many restaurants. We decided to recreate the dish to follow our stew as it looked so simple to make and only took a matter of minutes. Papaya and vanilla ice cream blitzed in the food processor, served in a sundae dish with a shot of creme de cassis stirred through..

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The creme de Cassis sunk to the bottom of the dish and gives a lovely rich red colour.

Family Verdict: The stew was very tasty and the flavours were fantastic. However, the pork shoulder was quite fatty and the recipe didn’t say whether the fat needed to come off or not. The chorizo addd a fabulous flavour, but the intense red colour had disappeared. We were unsure why the dish needed orange slices, but the hot sauce added a kick and am not sure if we would cook it again…       The creme de papaya was refreshing and had a lovely taste. If I was to make this again I would prepare earlier and place back in the freezer to harden it slightly, but that is just my thoughts, not what the recipe asks for…

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