International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Plate with Brazilian feijoada completa

(Brazilian pork, beef and black bean stew)

Image by Andre Ribeiro

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Feijoada, or feijoada completa, is Brazil's national dish, a lusty meat and bean stew slow simmered and traditionally served as a Saturday afternoon meal. A true feijoada should contain pork, beef, and sausages, with at least one smoked item.

Feijoada as a dish is originally from Portugal, and it is still very popular there. A version of feijoada is also eaten in the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique.

6 to 8 servings


Feijoada stew

  • Black beans -- 1 pound
  • Olive oil -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Pork (see variations) -- 1 pound
  • Beef (see variations-- 1 pound
  • Sausages (see variations) -- 1 pound
  • Onions, chopped -- 2
  • Garlic, minced -- 4 to 6 cloves
  • Bay leaves -- 2
  • Water -- to cover
  • Salt and pepper -- to season



  1. Rinse the beans and soak them overnight in enough water to cover by about 3 inches. Drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Brown the meat in batches and set aside. Drain off all but 3 or 4 tablespoons of fat.
  3. Add the onions to the hot fat and saute until translucent and wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute or so.
  4. Add the drained beans, browned meats, bay leaves and enough water to cover everything by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to keep the ingredients moist.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for another hour or so until the meats are very tender and the beans are soft and creamy.
  6. Serve hot over rice with couve à mineira, orange slices, toasted farofa to garnish and bottled hot sauce to season.

Feijoada Variations

  • Beans: Black beans are the type most commonly used for feijoada in Brazil, but white, brown or red beans are used in some areas as well. Feijoada in Portugal is usually made with white or red beans.
  • Pork: Use fresh or smoked pork. Try cubed pork butt or shoulder, pork spareribs cut into 3-inch pieces, smoked ham hocks, smoked pork chops or chopped bacon. To add extra body to your feijoada, add some pig ears, feet or tails.
  • Beef: Carne seca — a salted, dried beef similar to jerky — is traditional in Brazilian feijoada and must be soaked first in fresh water overnight to rehydrate and to remove excess salt. It is then cut into bite-sized chunks before being added to the stew. If you don't have carne seca, use corned beef, regular stewing beef or beef tongue.
  • Sausages: Try to use a mixture of fresh and smoked sausages. Portuguese style chouriço works very nicely.
  • Portuguese Feijoada: Use white or red beans. During the 45 minutes of simmering, stir in some chopped tomatoes, carrots and cabbage.
  • The assorted meats for a feijoada are often removed from the beans at the end and served on a separate platter.


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