Two dishes going out to Joanne (also known as the Energizer Bunny), for her Regional Recipes get together, featuring Brazil this month. Since I had black beans that needed to be used muy pronto. And, shrimpies in the freezer, whipping up some Feijoada to go with a Brazilian Shrimp Stew, was definitely doable.
The stew was slightly adapted from a recipe in Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Today, They substituted black pepper for the malagueta pepper and I used Hawaiian chili pepper. Also, an orange and a yellow bell pepper for the green one, being what I had on hand.
As far as dendê oil goes, with a bit of research, I realized that it is not a product of coconut palms or coconuts, as I had assumed, but of a particular African oil palm, Elaesis oleifera if we're being scientific, grown in Africa and in Brazil. The oil is thick, dark, reddish-orange (like the nuts) and strong-flavored. Extensively used in cooking in West Africa and in Brazil, particularly in Bahia. I love how trying the foods of other lands introduces us to flavors and ingredients we would never have known. Now, if only I can find some dendê oil, to try.. And, preferably without paying a $45 shipping charge. Using a bit of turmeric for the color was my substitution.
Moqueca de Camarao originates from the Brazilian state of Bahia, hot and tropical, as it is located below the equator. Most dishes from Bahia, called “comida baiana”, are very spicy, just as in many other hot places of the world. Probably to fire up our drooping taste buds. I think the Black Beans dish, or Feijoada, is popular all throughout Brazil, though it also originates from the south east of the country. In preparing that recipe I was inspired by a video demo at Cuca Brazuca. However, I didn't add in all the hog bits. Just a little Canadian Bacon for some pork flavor.
For lovely visuals of Bahia, Brazil, check out this site. You may decide to visit and try their food first hand.
The first thing up was to get those black beans going in a pressure cooker (for shorter cooking time). I did mine the day before - to make things a little easier for Sunday dinner.
Feijoada (Brazilian Black Beans)
1 cup black beans
1 quart water
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Canadian bacon, chopped - you can add as many additional pork products as you like, such as chorizo, ham hocks, pork belly, ribs, etc.
salt and pepper to taste
Cover with water and cook the beans until soft. In a pressure cooker this can be done in 35 minutes to an hour, depending on the age of your beans. Saute the bacon in a medium sized skillet until almost getting crispy, then stir into the beans. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry until softened. Stir them into the black beans, together with salt and pepper to taste, and let them continue to cook for another hour. Meanwhile you can begin the Shrimp Stew.
Moqueca de Camarao or Brazilian Shrimp Stew
1 lb. large shrimp, tails on, shelled and deveined
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper (or use chili pepper, malagueta if you can find)
1 can whole tomatoes in juice (14-15 oz.)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (if you do not have dendê oil)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used 1 small can, which seemed fine)
1 tablespoon dendê oil (optional)
Toss shrimp with the garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or minced chili pepper) in a small bowl. Marinate, covered and refrigerated, for 20 minutes.
Puree tomatoes with juice in a blender until smooth.
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion (Possibly, when I do this again, caramelizing the onions would add even more flavor), bell peppers and turmeric if using. Cook, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cayenne, 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, bring to a simmer and simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very thick, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil, then add shrimp mixture and cook, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in dendê oil, if using, remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste. I recommend serving with rice, a portion of Black Beans and side of blanched, then sauteed collard greens (spinach or chard would also be good). A glass of my Pineapple wine went down fine with this meal too. We all loved every bite of the yummy exotic flavors, and the experience gave me an urge for a trip to Brazil ..... immediately. Maybe I should go on Wheel of Fortune?
Go Brazil! Per Joanne, the deadline has been extended to the end of December. Also linking to Hearth and Soul a Bloghop, co-hosted by GirlChef.