The cooking traveler: Brazil
Who says that we can only be in one place at a time? Feeling the need to find a comfort zone in a foreign country, student Ilaria Corti, from Italy, talks about origins and traditions with other international students. All of this over a nice meal from their home country. This time, she 'visits' Brazil with her friend Arthur.
When summer is near, throwing a barbecue is a tradition in the Netherlands. Especially among youth three ingredients are never missing: a lot of meat, a bonfire and dance music. If you move to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, you realise that it’s always good weather for a barbecue since the lowest temperature is never under 20 degrees, so no bonfire is needed. However you will always find other two elements, Feijoada for food and Samba for music. Let’s start with samba.
If you have never listened to samba music, or its evolution, bossanova, you should really start. Samba music is so cheerful, dynamic and dramatic that I can’t really think of anything comparable to it, except for some black African melodies, and there is a reason for that. Brazil is a melting pot of people from all over the world. There are communities from France, Italy, Japan, Africa, South Arabia.
My friend Arthur, who comes from the most eastern region in Brazil, says that Brazilian people look like everybody because in the course of history these communities mixed with each other. We owe the birth of samba in particular to the western African community, present in Brazil due to slavery. Samba developed in the favelas, but soon it got popular and some Portuguese-speaking poets and musicians became exponents of this new genre, using less religious but more political and existential lyrics. Arthur is fond of Samba and a piece he really recommends is Apesar de Você by Chico Buarque, one of the most influential writers and interpreters of this music.
Let’s go to the food now, Feijoada. Arthur was quite worried about preparing it with European ingredients, but it turned out really delicious, so you can try it out for you next bbq! Feijoada’s main ingredient is black beans, which are cooked for a long time and then mixed with meat. You can serve it with white rice, vinaigrette (a type of salad prepared with raw peppers, tomatoes, red onions, parsley and vinegar) and orange slices. The dish is originally from northern Portugal, but the Brazilian version is different. Arthur told me that Feijoada is so popular that when you go to the pub in Brazil and you want something to drink you can ask for a glass of Feijoada juice, the liquid part made with water, beans and meat while they cook.
Here it is the recipe (for 5 people):
500 grams dry black beans
400 grams of meat (half pork ribs and half spicy sausages like pepperoni)
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of minced black pepper
5 liters of water
5 tablespoon of minced Parsley
2 tablespoon of olive oil
Leave the black beans in water overnight to make them faster to cook and easier to digest.
Take a heavy-bottom pot and add 4 liters of water, the beans, olive oil and the pepper. Let it boil for about 50 minutes, or until the beans are soft. At the same time, boil the meat in one pot and add it to the beans after the 50 minutes are over. With the meat, also throw in chopped garlic, onions and parsley. Wait for another 20 minutes or till the Feijoada has made quite a thick cream.
Before eating Feijoada it is tradition to drink a shot of cachaça, a Brazilian-distilled spirit made from sugarcane, mixed with honey and lime juice.
Enjoy your Brazilian bbq and music!