Minas Gerais is the biggest producer of coffee in Brazil and Brazil handles a third of all the coffee in the world. To put it into perspective, out of every three cups of coffee produced worldwide, one of them is from Brazil. So I wanted to find out more and I was told there's a place where they passionately believe the preparation and consumption of coffee is an art - The Coffee Academy. I hadn't even gone inside yet and there was an amazing aroma of fresh coffee. I met Bruno Souza, the owner of this two-story coffee haven, where he creates, tastes and evaluates everything coffee! Bruno is a fourth generation of a coffee making family, he is a real character and exudes enthusiasm and information. That day, I roasted coffee for the first time. To joke with Bruno, I asked him how much coffee he drinks through the day and he says that on an average about a litre and a half of brewed coffee and two or three espressos. Could you imagine yourself after that amount of coffee?
Bruno explains to me that coffee is not just for sweet dishes but also for savoury dishes, that was surprising to me. So I left with a bag of Bruno's coffee and used it to inspire me to create my very own savoury dish, CHECK IT OUT!
My Brazilian Beef Brisket & Coffee Pie
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 kilograms beef brisket, cut into large chunks
- 75 grams plain flour
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 red peppers, deseeded and diced
- 2 dried ancho chillies, soaked in boiling water until soft then roughly chopped
- 400 millilitres dry white wine
- 500 millilitres freshly brewed coffee
- 2 x 400 millilitres cans black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed
- Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
FOR THE CASSAVA MASH:
- 1 kilograms cassava, peeled and cut into chunks
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 50 millilitres double cream
- 100 grams mature cheddar cheese, grated
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole. Toss the beef in seasoned flour and fry in batches until golden brown all over.
Add a little more oil to the pan then add the onions and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, peppers and ancho chilli and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the wine, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol.
Return the beef to the pan, pour over the coffee and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir through the chopped coriander and season to taste.
Meanwhile, boil the cassava in a large pan of salted boiling water for 20 minutes until soft. Drain thoroughly then mash with the butter and cream.
Spoon half of the mash into the bottom of a heatproof serving dish, top with the beef and spoon the sauce over the top.
Top the beef with the remaining mash, sprinkle with cheese and cook under a hot grill for 5 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.