Feijoada – Brazil’s national dish is a hearty, soul-satisfying, and well-seasoned stew served with steaming white rice and collard greens. The combination of meat and beans tastes glorious. This exquisite slow-food meal brings people together, drawing everyone around the table to share food, conversation, and laughter. 🥰
I was absolutely amazed the first time I tried feijoada (say fay-jwad-duh). It is insanely rich and flavorful. Black beans and meat—so many different types of meat – I had to know how to make it. So I did me a little research and headed for my kitchen, and now I’m ready to share the delightful results with you.
But before we dig in, you should know that feijoada is a meal that deserves to be savored, eaten slowly, and enjoyed with friends and family. Make it on a night you can have a leisurely dinner, and definitely make it when you can wear stretchy pants. Coz you’ll be back for seconds. 😅
What Makes It Special
What Makes Feijoada So Special?
Feijoada is really a simple dish. Black beans (usually) are flavored with bacon, sausage, fresh beef, pork, and more. It’s traditionally served with rice, kale or collards, sliced oranges, and toasted farofa (manioc meal). Brazilians serve the meal up with several different dishes, then pass them around the table, making a simple meal feel (and taste) like an indulgent luxury.
- Black Beans – Dried beans make this from-scratch dish amazing. But if you only have canned beans, add them 20 minutes before it’s done cooking. 🙅♀️
- Meat – I ultimately decided to use pork, smoked pork hock, bacon, and smoked sausage in my Immafied feijoada, and it was so spectacular.
- Veggies – Onion, celery, garlic, and tomatoes (technically, a fruit – I know, I know) add flavor and texture to your feijoada.
- Seasonings – Add depth with the following spices: bay leaves, thyme, bouillon powder, cumin, cilantro, and beef broth.
How to Make Feijoada
Prep the Ingredients
- Soak the Beans – Sort and rinse the beans, removing anything that’s not a bean. Place them in a pot or large bowl and add enough tap water to cover them by three inches. Soak them overnight in the fridge or leave them at room temperature for about 8 hours. Add more water if needed. (Photo 1)
- Prep the Meat – Prep all the meat by cutting it into 1-inch pieces. (Photos 2-4)
- Bacon – Heat a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook while frequently stirring until it is crispy—about 5-6 minutes. Transfer the crispies to a large bowl, and set them aside. (Photo 5)
- Pork Shoulder – Next, add the pork shoulder and brown generously for about 4 minutes per side. After searing, transfer pork shoulder to the bowl with the bacon. (Photo 6)
- Smoked Pork Hock -Repeat the same browning process with the smoked pork hock, occasionally stirring to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot—about 5 minutes. Take it out and place it in the same bowl as the bacon and pork shoulder. (Photo 7)
- Sausage – Finally, add the sausage to the pot, brown it for about 5 minutes, and then add it to the rest of the meat. (Photo 8)
Make the Feijoada
- Saute Seasonings – Reduce the heat to medium, and if needed, add a little more oil and allow it to heat for about a minute. Then add onion, celery, garlic, and thyme. Sauté, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant—4-5 minutes. (Photo 9)
- Veggies – Add the diced tomatoes and continue cooking for 3 more minutes—until the vegetables are soft. (Photo 10)
- Beans – Next, stir in the beans, bouillon powder, cumin, and bay leaves, and stir to fully combine. (Photo 11)
- Meat – Then add the meat, beef broth, and water and increase the heat to high. Stir the feijoada, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. (Photo 12)
- Simmer – Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 90-110 minutes or until your beans are tender, stirring occasionally. If the feijoada is too watery, uncover the pot and continue cooking for 20 more minutes so the excess liquid can evaporate.
- Final Stretch – Once the beans are tender, remove the bay leaves, garnish with some cilantro, and serve the beans with rice and orange slices.
- In some areas of Brazil, people use red or brown beans instead of black beans, so feel free to substitute any bean variety you love.
- You can also use any cuts of meat you love. Chunks of beef, another type of smoked sausage, salted pork, leftover smoked meat you may have on hand, or anything you feel would taste amazing in a pot of beans will work great.
- This recipe can also be prepared using a slow cooker: First, soak your beans overnight, then sear all the meat. Next, sauté the vegetables, then transfer them to a large slow cooker (8-quart or larger). Add the beans, bouillon, cumin, bay leaves, all the browned meat, and all the liquids (broth and water). Cover your slow cooker, then cook on high for 2-4 hours or low for 8-10 hours until the beans are tender.
Tips and Tricks
- If you run out of time to soak the beans overnight, add a teaspoon of baking soda when you throw in the dried beans. This will help your beans to cook faster.
- If you’re making it for just one or two people, then feel free to cut the recipe in half.
- Brazilians often use a pressure cooker for a faster meal.
You can easily make feijoada a day or two ahead of time. Just store the stew in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat it on the stovetop on medium heat when ready to serve it. Honestly, it tastes better the next day.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve feijoada piping hot with steaming rice and collard greens. But don’t forget the orange slices because the citrus balances the richness of the meat beautifully.
Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also store feijoada this way in the freezer for up to three months. Place it in the fridge overnight so it can thaw before you plan to reheat it. Reheat feijoada on the stovetop if you can. It tastes so much better than microwaving.
Feijoada resembles a pork and bean dish from Portugal called cozido, but whether or not that’s where the dish originates is a mystery. Feijoada is now Brazilian, through and through.
Feijoada is such a family affair that Saturdays are considered “feijoada day” – a day for families to gather around the table, enjoying the country’s favorite dish.
Beans can take their sweet time to cook, and in fact, they need it. However, you can indeed overcook beans to the point they fall apart. But everyone’s stove is different, so start checking for doneness at around 90 minutes.
What to Serve with Feijoada
White rice and orange slices are non-negotiable with feijoada if you want a real authentic experience, but collard greens are also a must-have to complete the meal. 😋
More Fabulous Bean Recipes to Try
- Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Beef Tripe and Beans
- Southern Baked Beans with Bacon
- Caribbean Rice and Beans
- Refried Beans
Feijoada may be Brazil’s national dish, but these meaty beans are always a hit anywhere in the world. Have you tried this recipe already? If so, please share your thoughts, tips, and tricks in the comment section below!
- 8 ounces dried black beans (about 1 cup)
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pork hock
- ½ pound bacon
- 8 ounces smoked sausage, cut into ½-inch slices
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon bouillon powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2-3 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
- Sort (remove any stones) and rinse the dried beans in a large bowl. Add enough tap water to cover them by three inches. Soak beans overnight in the fridge or leave them at room temperature for about 8 hours. Add more water if needed. Set aside.
- Prep all the meat by cutting it into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy for 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Next, add the pork shoulder and brown generously on each side for about 4 minutes per side. Transfer it to the bowl with the bacon.
- Repeat the same browning process with the smoked pork, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pot for about 5 minutes. Take out the browned smoked pork and place it in the same bowl as the bacon and pork shoulder. Finally, add the sausage to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes until browned, then transfer to the bowl with the rest of the meat.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add oil if needed and allow to heat for about a minute. Then add onion, celery, garlic, and thyme. Saute, stirring often, until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant (4-5 minutes). Add diced tomatoes and continue cooking for three more minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Next, stir in the beans, bouillon powder, cumin, and bay leaves, and stir to combine thoroughly. Then add the meat, beef broth, and water. Increase the heat to high, stir the feijoada, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat back to medium-low and simmer for about 90-110 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. If the feijoada is too liquidy, uncover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes or so to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
- Once the beans are soft, remove the bay leaves, garnish with some cilantro and serve the feijoada with rice, orange slices, and collard greens.