Sake
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With the in-laws away in Paris, my sister-in-law, grandma, house chef Gracinha, and dog-in-law Pri (short for Princess or Priscilla, still not sure) have come to stay with us. The opportunity was ripe to finally ask Gracinha to show me her feijoada-lite recipe.

I wrote about feijoada last year, as it's Brasil's national dish. Feijoada is traditionally eaten only on Wednesdays and Saturdays, we had to do it Wednesday after work. Feijoada-Lite is a simpler/ lighter version of feijoada (without the pig knees, tails, ears, and feet). With the whole family participating (and Pri carefully watching for any fallen bits of meat, couve (kale), or other morsels), it was on.

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The dog-in-law Pri patiently awaiting gravity to send her a gift.


Gracinha is one of the most loving, funny, and gracious ladies I have met. She cooks with love and kept me alive during my first few months in Brasil.

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Like many other kitchen geniuses throughout this culinary church of a city she is from the northeast, Pernambuco state. Many of the day workers, bus boys, bar staff, and doormen are from this area, and from what I have encountered, very hard-working and friendly. Their accent and slang is pretty hard for me to keep up with, but Nordestinos carry the city on its back, often facing discrimination (much like migrant workers from Mexico, in the States).

They bring their talent, variations on traditional recipes, and goodness to São Paulo. Gracinha's simple take on the traditional feijoada has recently become my favorite recipe in the city, and is a lot easier to make than the other, heavier versions. With the complimentary sides of vinaigrette, couve (kale), Brazilian rice, and farofa, each fork full exceeds the first. I suggest making a lot so you can eat it for lunch the next day. Warning: this may induce extreme flatulence (this is beans and sausage, after all).

Grancinha's Feijoada-Lite

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound of carne seca (salted jerked beef)
2 thick paio sausages (smoked pork sausage)
1 pound of black beans
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 onion
2-3 Bay leaves

METHOD
1. Soak jerked beef for at least 24 hours:

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2. Soak black beans two hours before cooking.

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3. Cook paio (sausage):

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4. Remove the skin and chop it up:

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*Don't even think about sexting.

5. Fry onion and garlic in pressure cooker:

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6. Add jerked beef (without the water) and paio to the pressure cooker:

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7. Add black beans with 1/3 of the water it was soaked in:

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8. Add boiling water:

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9. Add bay leaves:

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10. Twist the pressure cooker shut and time out about 45 minutes on full heat:

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Voila!

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Side Dishes

Couve (Kale)

INGREDIENTS
2 big kale leaves
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves

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METHOD
1. Cut couve into thin strands
2. Heat pan
3. Add half an onion
4. Add garlic (however much you prefer)
5. Stir in a pan
6. Add the couve, stir until it cooks down.

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Farofa

INGREDIENTS
Chunk of bacon, onion, farinha de mandioca (manioc flour), banana (not green) or apple (not green).

METHOD
1. Chop bacon:

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2. Fry it in its own grease until crispy:

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Lady in waiting.

3. Chop banana:

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4. Add farinha and stir:

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5. Add half a chopped onion, fry it a bit and then add your chopped banana:

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6. Stir until crispy.

Vinaigrette

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INGREDIENTS
Onion, tomatoes, red pepper, white vinegar, olive oil and salt.

METHOD
Chop up your onions and tomatoes. Then season the mix with vinager, olive oil and salt.

Brazilian Rice

INGREDIENTS
White rice (preferably not Asian), onion, garlic, salt.

METHOD
1. Wash your rice

2. Add onion and garlic

3. Stir fry it for a bit

4. Add water and cook in a pan. Cover with a lid a little later.

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Our dinner spread:

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Gracinha + Me:

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Gracinha's Feijoada-Lite with all the trimmings:

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ENJOY!!

*Originally from Los Angeles, Bryan lived in Tokyo for four years before marrying CH and moving to São Paulo. Bryan fixes on bikes, collects vinyl, teaches literature and speech, and is conquering South America one dish at a time every other Friday in his Super Faminto ("super hungry") column.