Portuguese Feijoada Recipe
This is a staple plate in Portugal. This is the type of food that “avós” — grandmas — of all Portugal cook for a regular weeknight meal. A Portuguese feijoada is the most comforting meal that you can ever make with cheap and easy to find ingredients.
Feijoada is a “simple” plate that was created by the poor Portuguese families that only had grains, vegetables and pork meat as the main source of food. This is an all you have in the fridge + some beans (black, red or white beans) + some sort of meat (sausages in this case).
“Feijoada” comes from the word “feijão”, which mean beans. This plate is basically a thick beans soup.
Usually, it is served with a big plate of plain white rice or with some bread. The goal is that the rice absorbs the juices of the feijoada and the flavor.
This plate has a homey feel bite after bite. You can taste the heritage and the Portuguese culture through this plate.
A traditional Portuguese feijoada has three major ingredients that are the secret for a real traditional result:
- The pork: You can choose ears, ribs, shoulder or a simple sausage.
- The beans: The traditional like to use red pinto beans. But you can mix with other beans as long as the red beans are the bigger portion of the mix.
- The bay leaf: This is where the flavor is. You can add other ingredients, even make swaps with the pork and make a vegetarian feijoada. But if you don’t use a bay leaf while simmering you will never get that rich broth.
Usually, this plate includes some type of “green”. It can be cabbage (the most traditional), turnip greens or spinach (the option that I use for this recipe).
If you like this traditional Portuguese recipe maybe you will like these too:
I see you in the next recipe 🙂
- 1 onion cut into dices
- 1 carrot cut into dices
- 1 medium potato cut into dices
- 1 stalk of celery cut into small pieces
- 1 Portuguese chorizo (note 1)
- 1 medium can 420 gr red pinto beans (with the liquid of the can)
- ½ can 210 gr white beans drained.
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup of meat broth (note 2)
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme
- Sprinkle of pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
In a big sauté pan over medium heat pour the olive oil and cook the chorizo cut into slices. Remove the chorizo from the pan when it is semi-crispy and has released its natural oil. That’s the key for the flavor.
Toss the onion and after a couple minutes add the garlic and cook until the onion is almost transparent.
Toss the carrot, the potato, the celery and the tomato paste. Stir well.
Add the red pinto beans (with the liquid), the white beans, the chorizo and the spinach. Pour the meat broth and the water. Season with the bay leaf, thyme, and pepper (note 3). Simmer for about 15 minutes over medium heat.
Remove the bay leaf and serve with some fluffy white rice.
- If there is no way you can get Portuguese or Spanish chorizo you can use a good quality pork sausage.
- You can also use a meat bouillon cube and add a cup of water, instead of meat broth.
- I don’t add extra salt to this recipe because the chorizo and the meat broth have enough salt for me. But you can add a little bit of salt if you feel it’s needed.