Stir the Pot!

Stir the Pot!

Great music and great food — what could be a better combination?

Every year in the Springtime, UUCC’s jazz ministry, led by its instrumental jazz sextet, the Chalice Messengers, presents a concert and dance to support the good work of the congregation.  This concert has been a tradition at UUCC since 2007.

The event, which is donated as an item in the UUCC Annual Auction, features danceable jazz centered on a particular genre or region from which the music originates.  Beer, wine, and delicious foods, typically chosen to thematically reflect the music, are featured.

This year, the concert, called The Latin Touch: The Chalice Messengers Play Latin Jazz, was held May 5 (entirely by coincidence, on Cinco de Mayo).  It took place in our spacious new sanctuary, and featured accessible, toe-tappable tunes from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.  Even the audience got to get into the action – Guantanamera, the last tune in the first set, was a singalong.

To complement the music, a feijoada bar was served to the hungry guests.  Feijoada is a sort of black-bean cassoulet, or stew, for the peasants.

Three different feijoadas were offered at the concert so guests could have a bit of a culinary experience (including one that violates the first rule of feijoada, that it has to contain meats).  All three chefs have been kind enough to share their secrets, which appear below.  The actual culinary expert of the group, April Lee, explains more about the dish in her recipe, which comes first.  Like feijoada itself, a few surprises are hidden in some of the recipes.

Feijoada Brasileira

April Lee, Chef/Owner, Tastefully Yours Personal Chef Service

Download/Print (PDF)

Feijoada (pronounced “fesh-WA-da”) is a classic Brazilian national dish which originated in Rio de Janiero. It’s a hearty stew made of black beans, herbs, spices, and a variety of smoked and salted meats, served traditionally over rice with tangy greens, sliced sweet oranges, and farofa (toasted cassava flour). The flavor is well-seasoned and slightly smoky, but not overly spicy, although hot sauce can be added at the table.

This recipe can easily be made in a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. Either method will yield tender meat and also will draw the gelatin out of the boned pieces, essential for creating the rich, silky texture of this stew. Just like with all stews, feijoada benefits from being made a day in advance to allow the flavors to marry and deepen.

Please note: The measurements in this recipe are approximations. Don’t worry if you can’t get exact amounts. Taste and season as necessary. Allow time to soak both the black beans and the salted meat overnight in water before cooking. (It’s always important to soak dry beans in water with baking soda to reduce the cooking time of the beans to make them tender, as well as to leach out the indigestible sugars which is the cause of any unwanted, ahem, GI effects of eating beans.)

Yield: 10-12 servings


1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 pounds dry black beans, soaked in water overnight, drained
1 pound smoked sausage, such as linguiça or choriço sausage,* sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 pound carne seca or other salted cured beef such as corned beef, soaked overnight and cubed
2 smoked ham hocks
1/2 pound smoked pork neck bone
1 pound baby back spareribs, cut into individual ribs
2 cups chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (not sweet or hot paprika)
4 bay leaves
10 cups water (approximately, depending on what method you use to cook stew)

*(Use chorizo or even a spicy Italian pork sausage if these Portuguese sausages are unavailable.)


  1. Place black beans in large mixing bowl, sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of baking soda over beans and fill bowl with water. Also, in a separate bowl, soak cubed pieces of salted (or corned) beef in water. Place both bowls covered in refrigerator at least six hours or overnight.
  2. Drain beans and salted cubed beef. At this point, you can just put all the ingredients in a large pot. However, it’s best If you sauté the onion and garlic lightly in 2 tablespoons of olive oil first. Also, browning the spareribs and beef cubes is recommended to add depth of flavor. But if you don’t have time, just put everything in the pot!
  • — Pressure Cooker, Electric: Pressure cook on high for 45 minutes. Allow to depressurize naturally.
  • — Pressure Cooker, Stovetop: Cook for 35 minutes; allow to depressurize naturally
  • — Slow Cooker: Cook on low for 8 hours.
  • — Stovetop in large, heavy pot (e.g., dutch oven): Cover with water by 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, topping up with water as necessary to keep beans completely submerged until beans are completely tender and liquid is a deep black, about 4 to 6 hours.
  1. Remove ham hocks, spareribs, smoked pork neck bone, etc. (any boned pieces), and the bay leaves. Pull the meat off the bones and shred or chop the meat. Return meat to stew (discard bones and bay leaves). Stir stew and add salt and pepper to taste. Feijoada reheats well and is freezer friendly. Enjoy!

Jamie Oliver-Inspired Smoky Vegan Feijoada

Laurie Coltri

Based on a recipe found here:


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 bag of fresh tricolor mini-peppers and one green bell or poblano pepper. (or 6 mixed-color bell peppers)
  • Olive oil – roughly ½ cup altogether
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 red onions
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 4 400-gram cans of black beans, with liquid
  • 200 g okra
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pint of good quality, fresh pico de gallo


  1. Turn on some uptempo Latin music – you’ll need the energy.
  2. Peel, seed and chunk the squash into 1 ½ inch cubes. Toss in olive oil, coriander and salt/pepper to taste.  Then turn out onto a shallow sheet pan or large cookie sheet lined with parchment, spreading to make a single layer, and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.  Don’t clean the bowl (yet).
  3. Seed peppers and cut into approximately 1 ½ inch chunks. In another bowl, toss with olive oil and paprika.  As with the butternut squash, spread onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.  Again, reserve the bowl containing the oil and remaining paprika.
  4. Peel and chop onions and garlic. Put about ¼ cup of olive oil in a very large casserole pan on your stovetop, turn on the heat, throw in the onion and toss.  Add the garlic and bay leaves, and a splash of water.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
  5. Ice down your shoulder and your biceps, which are aching by now.
  6. Open the cans of black beans and empty, liquid and all, into each of the reserved bowls. Fill each emptied can half full of water, slosh it around to pick up reserved liquids, and then add to the bowls.  Give them each a good stir to pick up the spices and herbs, then pour both bowls of beans into the casserole.  Add the squash and the peppers.  Bring to a simmer while you do the next step.
  7. Finely slice the okra (I used frozen okra, half-thawed) and add to the casserole. Cook 20 minutes or until rich and dark, adding water as needed to keep it loose (I didn’t need any).
  8. Season with salt, pepper as needed. After this step, I kept mine in a warming oven for about 5 hours, covered with foil, and it didn’t do it any harm.
  9. Put your feet up, pour yourself a shot of Cachaça, and take a nap.
  10. At the very end, throw in the pico de gallo and give it a stir.
  11. Find a large, muscular person to bring the Feijoada, which by now seems to weigh about 4 tons, to the table.
  12. Find another unsuspecting person to clean your kitchen, which is now piled high with large dirty bowls and pans and strewn with pepper seeds, splotches of bean juice, and olive oil. Don’t forget to clean the bottoms of your shoes.

Serve with some or all of the following: pico de gallo, hot sauce, chopped cilantro, chopped onion, steamed rice, farofa.

Cuba-Inspired Feijoada

Tom Benjamin

Version 1: In a large pot, sauté some chopped onions, green onions and garlic in olive oil; dice and sauté some ham; cook and crumble some thick bacon; open 2-3 large cans of black beans and liquid and add everything to the pot; add 2 smoked ham hocks (optional), some coriander, 2-3 bay-leaves, pepper, a little hot sauce or cayenne, 2-3 little packets of Cuban seasoning (Sazon Goya); simmer for a couple hours, checking the liquid. Alternatively, you could also use dried beans, and soak them overnight instead of using canned beans. Serve with chopped cilantro, chopped onion, crumbled bacon, rice.

Or Version 2: boil a huge kettle of black beans over the fire in the clearing for 200 years, add whatever veggies and peppers are in season, dispatch and prepare any rodents or ungulates that wander into the clearing during this time and toss into the pot. Capybara and guinea pigs are succulent. Continue to boil. Discard.

Editor’s notes:


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *