Tag Archives: Pork

Brazilian Feijoada

I sometimes get asked what comes first when I post recipes for my blog – the food or the music. Most of the time it comes from a mutual love where I’m so fascinated by a culture that I’m in love with both the food and the music, but this is one where the music came first.   I love Brazilian music, but knew next to nothing about the cuisine so I forced myself to do some research and find a dish that would complement the music.

Not long after, it was clear that I needed to try my hand at feijoada as it was the national dish of Brazil and one that everyone raved about. That and it sounded like one of the meatiest stews I’d ever heard of. I was heading down the south coast for a week of relaxation so I stopped off for a trip to Petersham (Sydney’s little Portugal) and collected some salted beef and various cuts of other meat to make this delicious stew. I’ve heard people just using beef jerky in place of the salted beef, but try to get the real thing if you can.

I plucked this recipe from SBS’ Food Safari – an excellent resource for international cuisines – and amended it slightly based on what I could get my hands on.

Feijoada - photo by my sister Emiko Davies
Feijoada – photo by my sister Emiko Davies

Ingredients (for 6-8 people with leftovers)

  • 500g black beans (not canned)
  • 200g salt dried beef
  • 200g smoked pork ribs, halved through the bone
  • 200g speck or smoked pork belly, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 chorizo, halved and sliced
  • 500g smoked pork hock
  • 300g pork scotch fillet, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • white rice
  • kale (or silverbeet)
  • orange segments
  • coriander

Farofa

  • 60g butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 120g of cassava flour
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped

You need to start this at least one day ahead by soaking the beans and salted beef in cold water in separate bowls. The beans will double in size so make sure you have a bowl big enough for this. Refrigerate the beans overnight. For the beef, just make sure you change the water about 4 times so it’s not just sitting in salty water. This will loosen up the beef and get it ready for cooking.

Rinse and drain the beans and beef. The beef should be soft enough to slice through into 2 cm pieces so slice them up and throw them into a large pot along with the beans. Add all the other meat, 2 bay leaves and top up with cold water so everything is covered. Bring to boil, making sure you skim any scum from the surface while you occasionally stir. Once at boil, reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 1 hour.

In a separate pan, heat up some oil on medium and add your onion, garlic, chilli and bay leaf mixture until the onions are soft and transparent. Remove about a cup of the beans from the pot with a slotted spoon and add them to the onion mix. Mash the beans roughly with the back of a wooden spoon and mix well with the onion mix before tossing it all into the feijoada pot.

Cover and cook for another hour, then remove pork hock, shred meat (when cool enough to handle) and return pork meat to the pot. Cook for another hour uncovered (add a little more water if it’s getting too thick), and then taste for seasoning.

In the last hour when you’re cooking the feijoada, this is when you can prep all the lovely sides to the stew.  To make your Farofa, melt the butter in a pan and saute your onions until soft. I didn’t have any cassava flour on me so instead I made use of some breadcrumbs and toasted this in the buttery onion mix for a few minutes. Add your chilli and chopped corriander and put this mixture aside in a bowl.

For the kale, keep this nice a simple and blanche the finely shredded kale in boiling water for about a minute.  Drain the kale, season with salt and pepper and dress with a drizzle of olive oil and put this aside in a separate bowl. With about half an hour to go for your stew, put on enough rice for your guests in your rice cooker or the stove.

When your stew is nice and gooey and the whole house smells of meat, you should be able to put everything together in bowls.  Arrange the rice, stew and kale in everyone’s bowls, then sprinkle with the farofa mixture and top with orange segments and coriander leaves.  Delicious.  You’ll almost certainly have leftovers and like most stews, it’ll taste even better the next day.

Jams

Where do I start with Brazilian music? There’s so much out there and I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert, but instead I’m just going to share the artists and music that I love.  A lot of the Brazilian music that I like stems from the Tropicalia period, which was a cultural movement in the late 60s which resulted in some of the most wild music recorded and inspired the likes of David Byrne, Kurt Cobain and Beck.  It’s a great cross road of psychedelic rock, samba, funk and soul. Truly fascinating and worth buying this Soul Jazz compilation if you want to know more.

Instead of just posting one tune to sum up the dish, I’m going to try using Spotify so you’ll have an entire playlist to cook and eat to.  I’ve selected a range of artists (not just from the Tropicalia period) from the 60s to the 80s with equal parts dreamy landscape, lazy funk and psychedelic fuzz. Enjoy!

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Tonkatsu burger

Another Japanese post and another one of my all-time favourite dishes, tonkatsu.  For those who don’t know, tonkatsu is a Japanese dish where a pork fillet is dipped in an egg coating, rolled in panko breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy.  It’s hugely popular in Japan and is usually served with rice and shredded cabbage or alongside Japanese curry.  It’s also commonly served with a delicious sweet and salty sauce commonly called tonkatsu sauce, but was always known in my house as ‘bulldog sauce’ due to the picture of a bulldog on the brand that my mum would always buy.  I still call it that too.

This recipe combines my love of tonkastu with my love of American fast food to create the Tonkatsu burger.  It’s dead simple with very few ingredients, but that’s the way I prefer my burgers.  Feel free to experiment and add loads of extras.

Tonkatsu Burger

Ingredients

  •  2 decent sized pork fillets
  • Flour for dusting
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cabbage, shredded finely
  • 2 x burger buns
  • Tonkatsu sauce
  • Kewpie mayonnaise (Japanese mayonnaise)

Unlike the Austrian schnitzel, the Japanese tonkasu is usually quite thick (about 1 – 1.5 inches thick), but because we’re not slicing this like a traditional tonkatsu, you might need to beat the pork with a mallet down to about an inch if you have a particularly thick cut. Also try to get your pork piece so it roughly covers the circumference of your burger bun.

Set up three shallow bowls or plates in a line – one with flour and a dash of salt and pepper, one with a beaten egg and another with Panko breadcrumbs.  Take the pork and dust it in the flour, then coat the pork in the egg mixture and finally cover in the breadcrumbs, pressing down to make sure it sticks around the whole pork.  Repeat with the other piece of pork.

Heat a decent amount of vegetable oil in a pan so you get at least a centimetre in your pan.  You can test if it’s hot enough by dropping a spare breadcrumb and it should crisp up in about 10 seconds.  When it’s hot enough, carefully place your breaded pork in the oil and let it shallow fry for about 3 minutes or until the breadcrumbs get all golden and crispy.  Turn your pork over and fry on the other side for a few minutes until it’s golden and cooked through.  Take it out of the pan and let it rest of some paper towels for a few minutes.

Slice open two burger buns and lightly toast or steam them.  Place your cooked pork on the bottom half of your burger and swirl on a generous amount of tonkatsu sauce (seriously – the stuff is delicious and you’ll want more).  Top with a good serving of shredded cabbage and top that with a big dollop of Japanese mayonaise before finishing it with the top of the burger bun.

Serve with some homemade chips and an Ahsahi beer.  For another Japanese flavour, sprinkle the chips with nori (seaweed) flakes as seasoning.

Serves 2.

JAM: Happy End – Haru Yo Koi

Happy End - Happy End (1970)

When I think burgers, I think rock.  When I think Japanese rock, I think of Happy End.  Happy End was a Japanese band that only existed from 1970-1973 but were hugely influential in Japan and still today regularly top the ‘best of’ lists when it comes to Japanese bands.  Even if you know nothing about Japanese music, you’ve probably heard Kaze Wo Astumete, which was featured on the Lost in Translation soundtrack.  They fit somewhere between the sweet spot of folk, psych and bluesy rock and they’re well worth checking out.

While their album Kazemachi Roman is probably their most well known (and for good reason too), I’m going to choose a song from their first self titled album.  Prior to this album, Japanese rock artists usually sang in English because at the time that’s what Japanese rock bands had to do to succeed.  Happy End bucked the trend and sang entirely in Japanese, making a turning point in Japanese music when the album was received very well.  Check out the first song on the album, Haru Yo Koi, below:

Their albums are quite hard to come by but if you dig through the right second hand record stores you can find them (I  found 3 of their albums at Licorice Pie Records in Melbourne last weekend).  Otherwise check out discogs for vinyl/CD copies and impress your friends when they come around for Japanese burgers.

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Puerco Pibil

If you’re a fan of Robert Rodriguez’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico, then you’re probably well acquainted with this dish.  You may have even already looked up the 10 minute cooking school that Rodriguez hosted in the DVD extras, which is where this recipe comes from.  Puerco Pibil (also known as cochinita pibil) is a traditional Mexican slow roasted dish that is marinated in acidic juices and an array of spices – most notably annatto seed, which is what gives this dish its fantastic red colour.  The acid in the marinade tenderises the meat and the additional 4 hours in the oven makes the pork melt in your mouth.  What more could you want?

Enjoy this dish alongside green rice, salsa, hungry friends and plenty of beer.  It also makes fantastic leftovers to do it all over again for lunch.

Puerco Pibil

Puerco Pibil with green rice and salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 kilograms of pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 lemons, juiced
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 habanero peppers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of tequila
  • banana leaves

Annatto paste:

  • 5 tablespoons of annatto seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 8 pieces allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of cloves

If you have a spare coffee grinder (that isn’t used with coffee) then use this to grind up the annatto seeds.  If you don’t happen to own one, you can always use a motar and pestle but just be warned that you’ll be working up a bit of a sweat to grind them down finely.  Grind up the remaining annatto paste ingredients and set this aside.

Mix the orange juice, vinegar, salt, lemon, garlic, peppers and tequila with the annatto paste and pour over the pork shoulder. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Line up a tray with banana leaves and pour in the pork shoulder and marinade and wrap it up the best you can.  Cover completely with aluminium foil and put in a preheated oven for 4 hours at 160 degrees Celsius.

While this is cooking, you have plenty of time to decide what to eat with it.  My favourite is green rice and salsa, but this also makes a great filling for tacos or burritos.

Serves 6

JAM:

I can’t help but relate slow cooked comfort food with deep and heavy soul music.  Something about the honesty and simplicity. The song I’ve chosen is a psych-soul cover of the Romeo and Juliet theme from Mexican funk band Rabbits and Carrots.  The song, Romeo & Julieta, is from the album Soul Latino, which is an album well worth seeking out featuring mostly covers of funk and soul legends.  It’s slow, moody, yearns for the older days and the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Listen here:

The good people at Vampi Soul have recently reissued this so you should be able to find it at your local record store.   Alternatively, you can order your copy online here.

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