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Black Bean and Pork Love Fest: Feijoada from the Fatted Calf

As if Bossa Nova and futbol weren't enough, Brazil also gives us this inspired dish, feijoada. It's not a quick microwaved midweek meal. I think it would be great for a big weekend and served for an early Sunday supper. There are many versions but this one is from my clever friends Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller, the brains and brawn behind the Bay Area's beloved The Fatted Calf. They're also great friends of mine and I'm so happy to see they've written another great book. This one is Jerky: The Fatted Calf's Guide to Preserving and Cooking Dried Meaty Goods, and like most everything they do, it doesn't disappoint. I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that our Midnight beans would be perfect for this. You can easily (but not quickly) make the dried beef or you can cheat and buy it. It's fun to make. I'd go for it if I were you. -Steve This rich, soulful stew of meat and beans is considered the national dish of Brazil where it is often eaten as part of a celebratory meal. Variations abound and their lists of ingredients range from pig’s tails to blood sausages to bananas. But most agree that sundried beef, known as carne do sol in Brazil, is an integral component. In this stew it truly adds a depth of flavor as well as a textural component that makes this dish extraordinarily satisfying. A pot of Feijoada is perfect for feeding a large crowd, especially when served with simple traditional accompaniments such as rice, braised greens, slices of pineapple, orange wedges and pickled chiles. Recipe: Feijoada Makes 8-10 servings 6-8 ounces Meat+Salt+Sun (see below) or other simple dried beef torn into bite sized pieces 2 pounds oxtail 1 pound pork stew meat 1 pound dried Rancho Gordo Midnight beans 1 large smoked ham hock 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons lard or bacon fat 1 large onion, peeled and diced 3-4 peeled garlic cloves finely chopped 1 ½ cups diced red bell peppers 4 cups beef broth or water 1 unpeeled orange, quartered 8-10 ounces dried or smoked linguica or chorizo sausage, cut into thick coins sea salt to taste One day ahead, season the oxtail and pork stew meat. Rub the meat liberally with salt, place in a wide, shallow bowl, cover and refrigerate. Cover the black beans with several quarts of cold water and set aside until the next day. The following day drain the beans off their soaking liquid. Place in a large pot along with the smoked ham hock and bay leaf. Cover with an ample amount of fresh cold water. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Skim any foam that may rise to the top. Reduce the heat and let simmer gently for 1½ to 2 hours or until the beans are tender and the meat of the ham hock begins to pull away from the bone. Season with salt to taste. Remove the oxtail and pork stew meat from refrigeration and allow to temper. Melt the lard in a large, deep braining pot or casserole over medium heat. Working in batches, add the pieces of oxtail and stew meat to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove the browned meats pieces from the pan and set on a plate nearby. Add the onion and garlic to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Using a wooden spoon, loosen any browned meaty bits that may be clinging to the pan as you stir. Once the onions begin to pick up a golden color add the peppers and continue cooking until both the onions and peppers are tender. Add the dried beef and return the browned oxtail and stew meat to the pot. Add the quartered orange, beef broth or water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and continue to simmer gently until meats are tender. Add the chorizo and continue cooking. Remove the hock from the beans and shred the meat off of the bone. Discard the bone. Stir the hock meat and beans with all of the cooking liquid into the pot of oxtails, beef and pork. Bring the pot to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Meat+Salt+Sun This is an old school, lo-fi jerky, sometimes called charqui or carne de sol depending on your locale. The depth of flavors yielded by simply baking the salted beef in the hot sun are reminiscent of a superb dry aged steak. This basic jerky staple is great to eat on its own or can be used as an ingredient for cooking as in the Brazilian meat and bean stew, Feijoida. Sun drying can be a bit of a leap of faith for the uninitiated. Just bear in mind that you will need to be a little flexible with the timing since the drying is weather dependent. We highly recommend the use of a mesh drying basket which allows for maximum airflow during the sun-drying process while keeping the meat safely out of the reach of pests. Makes about 1 pound of finished jerky 2 pounds of well trimmed beef brisket or bottom round, sliced as thinly as possible 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons of fine sea salt Warm, Sunny, Dry Weather Massage the salt into the slices of meat. Lay the slices directly onto the screens or mesh shelves of a drying basket, being sure to leave space between each slice. Hang the basket is a well ventilated, sunny location for 24-48 hours. After the first 24 hours, check the progress of the drying process. If the slices are completely dry, remove from the basket and store appropriately. If the meat has not reached your preferred level of dryness, continue drying, checking every 4-8 hours. Store the finished jerky in a covered container in a cool, dry location for 4 to 6 weeks. From Jerky: The Fatted Calf's Guide to Preserving and Cooking Dried Meaty Goods (© 10 Speed Press, 2018) Photos by Ed Anderson

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