Tag Archives: feijoada

Chipotle Black Beans and Baby Kale Soup with Plantains

30 Nov

Being the Brazilian that I am, I always have beans on my fridge. I make a fresh batch every week and use it in different dishes such as salads, wraps, soups, stews, or the classic duo rice and beans.

Today it is rainy and cold, so I decided to make a vegetarian version of feijoada. However,  I did not use anything as a meat substitute. The smokiness comes from the chipotle, and I used Baby Kale instead of collard greens.

Every time you cook beans, you have to first pick them to make sure there are no foreign objects. Then rinse them well, and place them on a container and fill it up with water about 2 to 3 inched over the beans. place it inside the fridge overnight. Now, there is a lot of debate over whether or not to throw out the soaking water. I always do so, and this is what I learned with my mother and grandmothers. According to them, if you keep the soaking water when cooking your beans, whoever eats them will suffer from bloating and gas.

Using a pressure cooker will speed up the cooking process. It only takes 20 minutes. If you never used a pressure cooker please make sure you read the manual and understand how it works and what you are not supposed to do to avoid having the pot explode on you. If you are not using one, your beans will take a little longer to cook but will taste equally delicious. I love using a cast iron pot for cooking beans.


Basic Beans Recipe


4 cups of black beans, washed and soaked in water for 24 hours or pre-cooked unseasoned canned black beans, such as Goya

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1 sweet onion, grated in food processor or box grater

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil



  1. Place beans and bay leaf in a pressure cooker, and add water until the water covers about 1 ½ inch of the beans. Close the pressure cooker and cook it on high until it starts to whistle, then turn it down to medium and let it cook for about 12 minutes.
  2. Remove pot from the stove and wait for the pot to cool completely, or let it cool under cold running water until the lid is completely cool to touch before you open it. Be very careful because the pot might explode if is still hot.
  3. In a medium saucepan(if you are not using a pressure cooker start here), add the olive oil, the onions and the garlic and cook it until translucent. Add the beans with the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or more, so all the flavors blend together and the beans are cooked through.


Soup Ingredients

Chipotle to taste (Depends on how spicy you like, I use 2 or 3 or 1 tbsp of chipotle paste)

1 tbsp raw organic cacao powder

1/2 tbsp oregano

3 cups baby kale

2 Medium tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes

Vegetable Stock

1 tbsp olive oil

2 plantains, sliced on the bias then cut into 1 1/2 inches

Coconut Oil Spray (or brush coconut oil in the pan)

Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper to taste



1. Get half of the amount of beans you have at hand and place it in a blender with some of its liquid plus some vegetable stock and blend. Add more vegetable stock, as you see fit to obtain a creamy texture. Blend again.

2. In a medium pot on medium heat add the olive oil, smashed chipotle, cacao powder and tomatoes. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the blended beans, the remainder of the whole beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil, turn down the heat to low medium and let it cook for 20 minutes with the lid on.

4. Add the baby kale, close the lid and let it cook for 5 minutes.

5. While the soup is cooking, place a medium frying pan on high heat. Spray or brush coconut oil on the pan and place the plantains. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip them with a spatula or fork until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan, place them in paper towel and set aside.

6. Serve the soup in a bowl,and place the plantains neatly on top. I like to garnish with micro kale greens for an extra crunch and presentation.


Bom Apetite!


Brazil: Ready for Its Culinary Close-Up: Food + Cooking : gourmet.com

21 Sep

Brazilian Food is not just meat

I polled more than a dozen renowned critics across the country for their take on Brazilian cuisine stateside, and the replies echoed an underwhelming chorus of “It’s not my area of expertise,” “I don’t know much about Brazilian food,” and “We don’t have Brazilian restaurants in [insert major city name here].”

Unlike the cuisines of Italy, China, and Thailand (to name just a few), Brazil never gained a foothold in the American food landscape—even when the samba was popularized in the United States in the 1940s. Aside from açaí berries and the Caipirinha cocktail, Americans have come to associate Brazilian cuisine with only one small niche: steakhouses.

The Brazilian steakhouse scene in the states is a diverse one. International chains Fogo de Chão and Texas de Brazil lead the charge, with locations in most major U.S. cities, as well as seven Fogo de Chão locations in Brazil. Smaller national chains, including Rodizio Grill (nine locations) and Boi Na Braza (two locations), round out the pack. While some of the chains prove to be more traditional in their menu offerings than others, all are centered on the concept of all-you-can-eat proteins sliced and served tableside from giant skewers. It’s a “meat, meat, and more meat” mentality, according to Lauren Shockey, a New York City–based food writer and former restaurant critic at The Village Voice.

The focus on roasted meat—specifically Brazil’s famed churrasco (grilled beef)—rather than the country’s more traditional dishes, such as feijoada (black bean stew) and shrimp bobó (shrimp in yucca cream), is for good reason. “The steakhouse concept isn’t foreign in America,” explains Almir Da Fonseca, a Brazilian food expert and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. “It was easy to translate in the States because steak is not only familiar, but it’s also readily available.”

Churrasco’s overshadowing presence isn’t the only reason more traditional dishes haven’t caught on with the meat-and-potato-loving palates of the American public. “In Brazil, we don’t have a Julia Child, a Craig Claiborne, a Charlie Trotter, or an Escoffier,” says Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, a Brazilian chef and cookbook author. “If you look back 100 years ago, there was someone in nearly every global cuisine who was already a thinker. We didn’t have anybody.” The sparse culinary history has only recently changed course as Brazilian chefs step out of the shadows and onto the national culinary stage.

“There’s a paucity of high-profile chefs in Brazil, and not a lot of them have global ambition,” Platt says. The closest chef to celebrity status in Brazil is Alex Atala, who at the age of 44 is the creative mastermind behind Brazil’s crowning restaurant achievement: D.O.M. Located in São Paulo, D.O.M. ranked fourth on Restaurant magazine’s 2012 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list—its highest ranking since opening in 1999. But even Atala and D.O.M. haven’t been enough to make Brazil a food force to be reckoned with in the United States.

via Brazil: Ready for Its Culinary Close-Up: Food + Cooking : gourmet.com.

As I read all the articles in this brilliant issue, I went through so many different emotions and feelings!
Let me start from the beginning: First, Gourmet Magazine is very close and near to my heart.Ever since I moved to U.S twelve years ago, I would purchased it, then became a subscriber, and was very, very sad when it became extinct after its 70 years of existence.

So, to see my favorite food magazine dedicate a whole issue to my beloved country’s food and culinary was very emotional. Reading “Brazilian Regional Foods and the history behind our colonization brought tears to my eyes. It translates so accurately who we Brazilians are: a melting pot of cultures and people that really melted together into only one: We are Brazilians! Not Lebanese-Brazilians, Japanese-Brazilians, Italian-Brazilians and so forth. It doesn’t matter where your ancestors immigrated from. Take myself as an example, I come from Italian, German-Swiss, Spanish, Lebanese, Portuguese and Brazilian Indian people that somehow ended up in this beautiful country together.

And this is why our food is so wonderful and diverse. Who would think that one of the most popular fast food chains is Brazil serves Lebanese-Syrian food and is named Habib’s? And that our most popular dish, is the Feijoada ( black bean and pork stew, served with fried collard greens, toasted yucca Farofa and oranges),which was brought in by African slaves in the 1500’s? And that we eat lots of seafood, and love cooking them in coconut milk and palm oil?

Like the article above shows, most people only know Brazilian food as Churrasco and meat. So every time somebody finds out I am a Brazilian chef I sight and wait because I know what their next questions is going to be: So what is your specialty? Do you cook lots of meat? Steak? Churrasco?

At first that would upset me a little that this is the only food Brazilians are associated with. Now, I understand that Churrascarias are pretty much the only Brazilian restaurants out there. And the all you can eat meat on a stick is a new concept to Americans, and they love it. I love it too.

But I want people to know we cook so many more wonderful dishes. So I tell them about our Bobo de Camarao; a stew made with coconut milk, yucca and shrimp. And Salt Cod with potatoes, bell peppers and black olives,braised in olive oil. And the fruits you can’t find here, such as jabuticaba, pitanga,and acerola.

This is why when I read Gourmet’s Brazil issue I was so happy to see others are also starting to learn and appreciate different aspects of our culture and food. Brazilian chef Alex Atala’s restaurant D.O.M ranked fourth in the 2010 50 Best Restaurants in the World (the restaurant is amazing and I will be posting here soon my experience there). So, I had to share it here.

The whole Brazil Issue is great, and available at the Gourmet Live Blog.

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