Brazilian Pork & Bean Stew

Brazilian Pork & Bean Stew

Melt-in-your-mouth pork, creamy black beans, tons of flavor, huge portions — no two ways about it, this is serious comfort food! I fell in love with this dish from “Slow-Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen before I ever looked into the nutrition. Not always the best plan with comfort food or slow cooker recipes, as they both have a tendency to be high in fat. So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I fed the ingredients into MyNetDiary, and it spit out a health grade of A! Sometimes, you really can have it all! There are so many great recipes in that cookbook. They’ve gone to great lengths to avoid the most common slow-cooker complaint: blandness. I haven’t made every dish yet, not by a long shot, but I have made quite a few. Not a bland one in the bunch so far, nor have I seen a can of cream-of-anything soup on any ingredient lists.

The prep is really easy, no complicated steps. If you want to save some time and can afford it, you can ask your butcher to cut the roast into stew chunks for you. I think if I were still working, I’d cook the bacon, sauté the onion, and cut up the roast the night before, then pop it all in the fridge overnight. I have a great vent hood fan and always tie my hair back when I cook, but I still end up smelling like bacon & onions! Starting in the morning with all cold ingredients might prolong your cook time by half an hour or so. For me now, though, doing the prep in the morning is perfect. I have more energy then and haven’t had a chance to get distracted yet. And even when it’s just the two of us, I make the whole batch. Half gets frozen, which it tolerates quite well, and the rest gives us dinner and a couple of lunches. Perfect! 

On the bottom of the page in the cookbook is a recipe for Molho Apimentado (click here for my version), or Brazilian Hot Sauce/Salsa. The authors suggest serving it with the stew, and they are so, so right! Delicious. To be honest, I don’t think it really deserves the label “hot.” The salsa, which can be made up to two days in advance, is about as spicy as mild Buffalo wings. Of course, you have control over that, by how much jalapeño you use or even by substituting a milder (or hotter) pepper. 

Please take the nutrition details with a grain of salt. Stew has so many variables that are hard to account for: Was your roast the same size as mine? Did we trim the same amount of fat? What brand of kielbasa did you use? It turns out the kind I used is higher fat than many.  The authors say that this feeds six to eight. I measured it out right before dinner and found it made eight 1.5-cup servings. 

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This picture only shows one red onion. I usually use three yellow onions but was out of them that day.

Ingredients:

6 oz. bacon (170 g, or 5 to 6 slices)

3 onions

6 cloves garlic

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) tomato paste

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste (optional) 

1 cup (240 ml) water

2 bay leaves

4 cups (1 litre) low-sodium chicken or pork broth 

1 pound (454 g) dried black beans (not necessary to soak)

1 pound (454 g) kielbasa

3 pounds (1.4 kg) pork butt roast, trimmed & cut into 1.5” chunks 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon salt

Preparation:

1.) Chop the bacon into small pieces. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, then transfer to paper towels to cool. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.

 

2.) While the bacon cooks, mince the onion and garlic.

3.) Add the onions, garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne to the pan. Cook for five to ten minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and brown. Transfer to the slow cooker pot. 

 

4.) Use the water to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the yummy brown bits. Add to the pot.

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5.) Sprinkle the bacon bits over the onion mixture, and add the bay leaves.

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6.) Add the broth to the pot. Pick over and rinse the beans, then sprinkle them evenly in the pot. 

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7.) Slice the kielbasa lengthwise, then cut it into half-inch (~1 cm) slices; add to the pot.

 

8.) Cut the pork roast into 1½” (just under 4 cm) chunks. You can pull it apart at the seams, trimming membranes and fat as you go, or cut first into slices and trim from there. If your pork roast came with a bone, keep the bone and trimmings for optional Step 10.

 

 

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9.) Distribute the pork evenly across the top of the pot contents. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 11 hours or 5 to 7 on high. Serve with Molho Apimentado.

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10.) If you have a pork bone and trimmings left, you can easily make pork broth to freeze for the next time you make this stew. 

Sometimes I’ll put the bone and trimmings in the fridge until the slow cooker is free, add a peeled onion, a peeled clove of garlic, a bay leaf, a teaspoon of black peppercorns, and water to cover, then set it for 20 hours on low. When it’s done, strain out the solids with a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate several hours, skim off any fat, and freeze the broth.

Other times I’ll use my Instant Pot. Same ingredients, set on Manual (high pressure) for 120 minutes, same followup. 

Of course, you can also make it on the stovetop. That’s my least favorite way because I’m not fond of babysitting the stove. You really have to keep an eye on the pot to make sure it neither boils over nor loses too much liquid, and cook it for three to four hours. 

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Brazilian Pork & Bean Stew

Ingredients

6 oz. bacon (170 g, or 5 to 6 slices)

3 onions

6 cloves garlic

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) tomato paste

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste (optional)

1 cup (240 ml) water

2 bay leaves

4 cups (1 litre) low-sodium chicken or pork broth

1 pound (454 g) dried black beans (not necessary to soak)

1 pound (454 g) kielbasa

3 pounds (1.4 kg) pork butt roast, trimmed & cut into 1.5” chunks

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon salt

Directions

1.) Chop the bacon into small pieces. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, then transfer to paper towels to cool. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.

2.) While the bacon cooks, mince the onion and garlic.

3.) Add the onions, garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne to the pan. Cook for five to ten minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and brown. Transfer to the slow cooker pot.

4.) Use the water to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the yummy brown bits. Add to the pot.

5.) Sprinkle the bacon bits over the onion mixture, and add the bay leaves.

6.) Add the broth to the pot. Pick over and rinse the beans, then sprinkle them evenly in the pot.

7.) Slice the kielbasa lengthwise, then cut it into half-inch (~1 cm) slices; add to the pot.

8.) Cut the pork roast into 1½” (just under 4 cm) chunks. You can pull it apart at the seams, trimming membranes and fat as you go, or cut first into slices and trim from there. If your pork roast came with a bone, keep the bone and trimmings for optional Step 10.

9.) Distribute the pork evenly across the top of the pot contents. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 11 hours or 5 to 7 on high. Serve with Molho Apimentado.

10.) If you have a pork bone and trimmings left, you can easily make pork broth to freeze for the next time you make this stew.

Sometimes I’ll put the bone and trimmings in the fridge until the slow cooker is free, add a peeled onion, a peeled clove of garlic, a bay leaf, a teaspoon of black peppercorns, and water to cover, then set it for 20 hours on low. When it’s done, strain out the solids with a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate several hours, skim off any fat, and freeze the broth.

Other times I’ll use my Instant Pot. Same ingredients, set on Manual (high pressure) for 120 minutes, same followup.

Of course, you can also make it on the stovetop. That’s my least favorite way because I’m not fond of babysitting the stove. You really have to keep an eye on the pot to make sure it neither boils over nor loses too much liquid, and cook it for three to four hours.

 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sybaritica says:

    Great recipe. Sort of like a Feijoada. One thing… I LOVE Kielbasa, but I tend not to cook it in stews, or slow cooked dishes, or the like as it gets a bit too soft. Have you tried some of the really hard air-dried sausages? Some, like certain varieties of Chorizo, really stand up well to moist cooking methods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. julie says:

      Yes, it is like a Feijoada. I haven’t had a problem with the kielbasa, but I love the idea of trying one of the hard sausages. Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

      Like

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