My Book of Traditions…
Hey there foodie friends. It’s been a while since I’ve visited my mom’s book of traditions, but during a recent phone conversation with my mom we got to talking about food (not uncommon) and I was suddenly craving her home-cooking. I made a mental note to pull out my ‘book of traditions’ when I got home. That’s how I refer to this notebook filled with recipes my mom used to cook for the family while I was growing up.
This book is probably the nicest gift she could ever give me–and I know it was from the heart. I very much appreciate that she took the time to write out all her recipes, from memory. Maybe she did it so I’d stop calling her so often to ask how to cook this or bake that. No… I actually believe she did this because that’s my mom’s way of sharing her love and passing on her love of cooking with me.
So, into the book I went. I didn’t get too far before I came across my mom’s recipe for “feijão refogado”. This dish is a type of bean stew and I love it. I immediately knew I had to make this. This was a dish we ate often when I was growing up. It was inexpensive, filling and most importantly, delicious. I haven’t made this much at all in the past 20+ years because Liz is not so big on beans. I know…I don’t get her. What’s not to love?
A traditional Azores dish!?
Uhhhh….. apparently not! And here I was thinking this was a traditional Portuguese dish, typical of the Azores. After a little research with my friend Google, I quickly realized this was a little stretch from the truth. Although very popular in the Azores, feijão refogado or feijoada is also typically cooked in former Portuguese colonies such as Macau, Angola, Mozambique, Goa, and Brazil. Feijoada is actually Brazil’s national dish according to a few of the sites I visited. Who knew???
How many versions?
During my research, I saw so many different ways of preparing this dish. Common ingredients include different types of beans, many “pork parts”, hot sauce, different types of fat, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, I never claim to have “the” original recipe. The version I’m sharing with you today is the version my mom cooked as I was growing up. It’s a version I love because it tastes great and it takes me back to my childhood. This was a poor-man’s food in past years, but I enjoy it just as much today. It’s also super rich in fibre, so there’s nothing poor about that.
What’s in your ‘book of traditions’? Think back to a favourite dish from your childhood and recreate it today. I know you have it in you…now get in the kitchen and cook something awesome, and as always, eat well, friends!
This Azores bean stew (feijoada) is Portuguese comfort at it's best! It's delicious, has lots of fibre and it's pretty easy to make.
- 2 lbs dried red kidney beans (900g or 1 bag)
- 6.35 oz toucinho/smoked Bacon/pancetta (180g)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 11.2 oz hot Portuguese chouriço (320g), cut in half wheels
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them in water (about 2 inches above the beans). Let them soak over night (at least 12 hours) or longer.
Dump the water and pour the beans into a large pot.
Fill the pot with fresh water, about an inch or two above the beans.
Place the toucinho/pancetta, the cinnamon stick and 1 tbsp of salt in the water, and stir.
Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil.
Reduce the temperature to medium low and let simmer for 50 to 60 minutes.
About 15 minute before the beans are ready, heat up the olive oil in a medium pot on medium high.
Remove the toucinho/pancetta from the beans and chop into small pieces.
Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until translucent. About 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the chopped toucinho/pancetta and chouriço to the pot with the onions. Mix until the chouriço starts to colour around the edges.
Add the tomato paste, vinegar and remaining 1/2 tbsp of salt to the chouriço mixture and mix for another minute. Turn off the heat.
Preheat the oven to 450 ºF.
Place the pot with the beans over the sink and start pouring water/broth out until the liquid is just under the top of the beans when the pot is straight. Note: There should be liquid in the pot, but not covering the beans.
Add the chouriço mixture the beans and mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the bean mixture into a large pyrex or other deep baking dish.
Place the baking dish in the oven on the middle shelf and let bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The dish is ready with the edges around the baking dish start start to show a little crust.
Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. The bean stew will thicken a bit.
Your bean stew is ready to serve... Enjoy!
- If you can't find Portuguese chouriço, you can substitute with Spanish chorizo.
- If you don't like spices food, replace the hot chouriço with sweet chouriço.
- This is a perfect make-ahead dish. I actually prefer this meal they day after it's made.