I met Marlene Cruz, considered royalty at the Portela Samba School in Rio de Janeiro. She was the first queen of the school in the 1950's, and her speciality dish is feijoada that has been a favourite with the dancers at the school for years. She's got an incredible 60 carnivals under her belt.
Marlene makes her feijoada monthly, and it includes 8kg of beans, ten kinds of meat served with kale, farofa, rice and oranges. It's a long process to make, her family all come together and start making it five days before the event, they cook together, drink beer and dance the samba. I like the sound of this dish.
Marlene invited me to her stall to try her legendary Feijoada. The taste is rich and very strong in taste. Over the many days of cooking, a big meaty stock with an earthy bean flavour has developed. Salty and smokey and being the heartiest of stews I have ever tasted. Served with kale and oranges, the latter making ease for digestion.
My Duck Feijoada
- 500g black beans
- 350g smoked pork belly sliced into large slices
- 2 confit duck legs (from a jar)
- 250g smoked sausage
- 250g good quality pork sausages
- 250g smoked bacon lardons
- 2 onions, peeled and diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
- Buttered kale
- 2 oranges, peeled and sliced
Put the beans and pork belly into two separate bowls, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse the beans and set aside. Drain the pork belly and pat dry on kitchen paper.
Heat a large, heavy-based casserole over a high heat and add a spoonful of the duck fat from the jar. Fry the pork belly for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and fry the remaining meat, in batches, until golden brown.
Cut the sausages into chunky slices. Add a little more fat to the pan then add the onions and fry for 5 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise. Add the garlic and bay leaves and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the beans, cover with boiling water and simmer for 45 minutes until the beans start to soften. Add the browned meat and duck, cover and cook for 1 hour until the beans are soft and the duck meat is falling off the bone.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with the orange slices and some buttered kale.