Vegan Brazilian Feijoada, quickly

On a cold and rainy day, there's nothing quite as comforting as a big warm pot of feijoada. Since Brussels is often cold and rainy, I first learned about this miracle cure when I lived above a group of Brazilian guys in Belgium. Every Saturday, a smokey, rich cooking smell would drift up to my apartment during the morning, and continue all day. In the late afternoon, I would hear them playing guitars and singing in Portuguese, clearly having an awesome party while I shivered in my apartment. Finally, I got invited one day, when I happened to be walking by the open door. I learned that the all-day dish was feijoada, Brazil's national dish. Its a combination of slow simmered black beans, various types of meat, bay leaves and other spices, with wine or beer. The vegan way, of course, involves some substitutions, but its still incredibly rich, comforting and delicious, especially with sides of orange rice, braised kale, and roasted plantains, the traditional accoutrements to the rich stew.

The real, "from scratch" recipe takes several hours, given that you use dried beans to get a luscious broth. But sometimes I do a short-cut recipe for weeknights that captures most of the appeal of the original without the many hours of stirring. I definitely recommend trying the traditional recipe, however- both Viva Vegan and Color Me Vegan offer awesome versions (and you can't get that perfectly thick bean broth with canned beans, alas.) However, once you've mastered those, you may find yourself craving the dish on non-special occasions, such as a particularly gross rainy day. In that case, I think my version holds up fairly decently, and my feijoada-obsessed boyfriend agrees.

Brazilliant Feijoada serves 4

2 16 oz cans black (turtle) beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup deuhydrated soy curls or similar (I use "soja schnetzel")
1 cup red wine
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. soy sauce
4 cups vegetable broth (or water + veg bouillon)
1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried
1 bay leaf
1 and 1/2 Tbs. cumin
1and 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1.) Reconstitute soy curls by pouring boiling veg broth (about 2 cups) over them (enough to cover) and soaking for about 5 minutes. Then drain, squeezing against colander gently to release excess water, and set aside.
2.) In a large, sturdy pot, heat a few good glugs of oil over medium low heat. When hot, add in onions and stir to coat. After 1-2 minutes, add in garlic. When garlic and onions are soft, season well with salt and pepper and pour in red wine to deglaze, cooking a few minutes more.
3.) Add in mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes, then add in soy curls, beans, remaining two cups veg broth, and remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to low. Let stew simmer for 30 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Meanwhile, prepare accoutrements (ie, roasted plantains, greens of your choosing, orange rice.)
4.) After stew has boiled down and sauce has become thick, taste and adjust seasonings. (I usually add a bit more soy sauce and balsamic at this point.) Let cook a bit longer until plenty thick, and serve hot with plenty of rice and hot sauce. Leftovers are even better the next day.

For more on roasting plantains, see here. For more on cooking dried beans, which I fully encourage despite the above recipe, see here.

Song of the Day: Aguas de Marco- Cibo Matto


Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

"Brazilliant". I love that. Also this looks delicious and Cibo Matto rules!

Vaishali said...

T, your version looks delicious and super tasty too. Love all those smoky flavors in there.

Get Skinny, Go Vegan. said...

Looks delicious!

adriennefriend said...

I like this recipe a lot ... the one in Viva Vegan, not so much. (It just tasted weak!) I'll let you know when I try it.

foodfeud said...

This sounds fabulous and fairly simple. I'm thinking up delicious accoutrements! The plantain idea sounds perfect.
PS Cibo matto, YES.

jhailstone said...

Yes, your version does look faster and easier to make. I bet you could have it cook all day in a slow cooker. Then, you could go about your day, come back and it would be all done :) I'm glad you shared the recipe, thanks!