Friday, May 6, 2011

Portobello Feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew)

OK, this may not be the most attractive meal (plus the photo is really crappy and doesn't do it justice) but what it lacks in appearance is definitely made up in flavour. 

It seems that a month doesn't pass by without me posting something from Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero. My love for chorizo sausages has been declared several times, Cindy and Michael gave me inspiration to try the delicious tofu chicharrones as well as gallo pinto (a rice and beans dish from Costa Rica) and cilantro-lime rice has become my staple rice side to serve with these wonderful Latin American meals. Prior to my possession of this wonderful tome I had almost no idea about food south of the Mexican border. Viva Vegan has given me the opportunity to experiment with different food from countries like Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina and Brazil as well as expanding on my Mexican repertoire.

Portobello Feijoada aka. Brazilian black bean stew with portobellos had been on my list to try for some time. It's one of the few recipes in the book that uses TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein), and as I am trying to use up a bag that is nearing expiry it was the perfect time to give it a try. Like quite a few other recipes in Viva Vegan it requires a bit of forward planning. Dried black beans need to be soaked for at least 8 hours and then cooked for 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the age of your beans. After this prep is out of the way, the rest of the meal comes together pretty easily. 

The feijoada turned out to be another success! It's a big hearty filling meal that is chock full of protein but despite this everyone managed to thoroughly clean their plates. I love black beans and find that cooking them yourself gives them a superior taste to the tinned variety and for recipes like this, the bean cooking liquid is used for a even greater depth of flavour. Terry suggested serving this with Brazilian Braised Kale and Savoury Orange Rice. I have made both of these before however none of us really liked the orange rice and I didn't have any kale on hand this time around. So I fried up some shredded brussel sprouts with some garlic and smoked paprika for our greens and cooked my favourite cilantro-lime rice. 

My only regret was that I halved the recipe. When I recently made Drunken Beans with Chorizo there was so much left over and I was the only one who could handle the spiciness. I can't recall exactly how many times I had these left-overs for lunch but it was enough that I was glad to see the end of it. So I erred on the side of caution this time, just in case we didn't like it! Unfortunately, it wasn't the case this time and I regretfully handed over the few remnants to the man for his lunch the next day. His feedback was that it tasted even better than the night before which I didn't really want to hear. At least I know for next time! 

Portobello Feijoada (Adapted from Viva Vegan)

1 cup dried black beans
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup TVP granules (recipe uses TVP chunks which I didn't have)
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons red wine (beer or vegetable stock can also be used)
4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper 

Place the black beans in a large bowl, cover with water and allow to soak for at least 8 hours. Drain the beans, then rinse well and place in a medium saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until the beans have softened.

Place the TVP in a small bowl and add boiling water. After 15 minutes, drain off the excess water.

When the beans are almost ready, heat the olive oil in a large pot and cook the garlic for about 30 seconds until it sizzles. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened and translucent.  Add the wine, beer or vegetable stock, increase the heat to a simmer and stir to deglaze the pot. Mix in the mushrooms, chilli, smoked paprika, cumin, thyme and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened. 

If you own an immersion blender (which I don't), remove a cup of black beans and bean broth from the bean cooking pot and puree. Alternatively, use a potato masher to break up as many of the beans in the pot as you prefer (I kept them quite chunky). Add all of the beans, bean cooking liquid, vegetable stock and TVP to the mushroom pot, bring to a rapid simmer and partially cover, stirring occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes and then season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes for the flavours to develop.


  1. sounds delicious - though I am not a fan of TVP and after reading your nut roast lasagna post I wonder if I could substitute crumbled nut roast here?

    I never really appreciated mexican food until the last few years - mainly thought blogging but also because a friend took up with an American girlfriend who was horrified at the aussie idea of mexican

  2. Thanks Johanna! I'm sure a crumbled nut roast would work really well as a TVP replacement in this recipe.

    The Aussie idea of Mexican food is so narrow and just wrong! I have always been a fan of Mexican food but cannot believe the diversity of the Latin recipes in Viva Vegan. I just love it and am always planning what to cook next these days...