RIO DE JANEIRO explodes into a fantasy world in the last four days before Lent, which begins this year on February 8. A touch of madness is the rule, not the exception, as the costumed Cariocas - the Rio residents - samba into the streets, freeing pent-up ghosts of the past and dreams of the future.
Carnival in Rio may not be in your plans this week, but you can still battle the cold of winter with a feijoada feast for up to a dozen of your friends. Feijoada (fay-zhwah-da), a stew of black beans and fresh and cured meats, is the national dish of Brazil. Accompanied by the side dishes described below the meal becomes a feijoada completa, the most festive version of the dish.
Manioc meal, the ingredient essential to farinha de mandioca and farofa de manteiga, is made from the poisonous cassava root that is also the source of tapioca. The root is peeled and grated, then drained of its poisonous hydrocyanic acid juices and lightly toasted.
Assemble this feijoada completa and you'll discover immediately why the average Brazilian consumes fifty-four pounds of black beans a year. Bom Carnaval! Feijoada 5 cups black beans 1/2 pound jerked beeff 1 small smoked tongue (about 2 pounds) 1/2 pound Canadian bacon 1/2 pound fresh pork sausages 1/2 pound chorizo or Portugues sausages (linguica defumada) 1 pound corned spareriba 1 pig's foot 1/2 pound lean beef 3 bay leaves 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 medium chopped onions 3 cloves crushed garlic 3 tablespoons chopped parsley 1 tablespoon dried crushed hot pepper, or one fresh hot pepper, crushed (optional)
Wash and soak beans overnight in cold water. Soak jerked beef, tongue, and Canadian bacon overnight in separate pans of cold water.
Next morning, drain beans, cover with cold water, add bay leaves and cook in a covered pot. Make sure there is always enough water to cover beans.
Drain jerked beef, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until fork-tender. Remove, cut into one-inch chunks, set aside. Parboil tongue long enough to be able to remove skin. Parboil Canadian bacon, spareribs, smoked sausage and pig's foot and discard simmering water. Prick fresh sausages, set aside.
Place meats, except fresh pork sausages, in a large pot, add water almost to cover and simmer until meats are tender. Drain meat, add to beans. Add fresh pork sausages to beans. Simmer until meats are tender and beans can be easily mashed with a fork.
A half-hour before serving, place vegetable oil in a heavy skillet, sauce onions until trasparent (do not brown), add garlic, parsley and hot pepper. Add two cups of beans and mash wiith a wooden spoon. Return to stew. Correct seasoning. (Owing to the saltiness of the cured meats it is unlikely that additional salt will be needed.)
To serve, remove meats. Slice tongue, bacon and beef. Arrange on a large platter, placing fresh meats on one side and smoked meats on the other.
The beans are served separately in a large bowl. Cauve 'a Mineira Greens Minas Gerais-style 5 cups kale or collard greens 1/2 cup bacon fat Salt
Wash kale or collardd greens carefully, discarding tough stems and blemished leaves. Shred leaves to 1/4 inch strips with a sharp knife. Place greens in rapidly boiling, salted water for three to four minutes. Drain well. Heat bacon fat over medium heat. Gently saute greens for two to three minutes. Salt to taste. Farofa de Manteiga Butter farofa 3 tablespoons butter 1 egg 1 1/4 cups manioc meal Salt 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add egg and scramble. Add manioc meal, mixing well and salt to tasste. Mixture should toasted bread crumbs. Add raisins. Mix well. Arraz Brasileiro Brazilian Rice 3 cups long grain riceece 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 medium onions, sliced thin 1 tablespoon parsley 1/4 cup peeled, chopped tomato (or 3 tablespoons tomato sauce) 3 cup boiling water (plus 1/4 cup boiling water, if necessary) 1 teaspoon salt
Heat oil in a heavy, medium-sized skillet. Lower flame. Fry rice, onion and parsley in oil until mixture has a swishing sound (about ten minutes). Add towmato, remove from heattt, pour water with salt added, pour water with salt added into skillet. Stir once or twice. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low heat. Cook about twenty to twenty-five minutes, until all water has been absorbed. To test, mash one or two grains of rice between fingers. They should become patsy. If necessary, add 1/4 cup of boiling water, and cook until all water is absorbed. Malbo de Pimmenta e Limao Pepper and lemon sauce 1 whole lemon 1/4 cup water 1 tablespoon crushed, dried red pepper 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 cup finely chopped onions Salt
Boil lemon in water. Add pepper, garlic, onions and salt. As water evaporates, prick lemon, releasing juice. When lemon is tender, pour sauce into bowl. Remove lemon and slice thinly. Return to sauce and mix well. Other Details
A feijoada completa typically also includes a plate of peeled orange slices, which the Brazilians say "refresh the stomach," and a shaker of farinha de mandioca (manioc flour), used to soak up the last drops of sauce.
The manioc meal and other specially items are obtainable at Safeway International and at many Latin American grocery stores.