Happy Birthday Brazil
Celebrate Brazilian Independence Day with Feijoda (fay-schwada), the national dish.
The Independence Day of Brazil (Portuguese: Dia da Independência), commonly called Sete de Setembro (7th of September), is a national holiday observed in Brazil and around the world on September 7. The date celebrates Brazil’s Declaration of Independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822.
Portugal had controlled Brazil for more than 300 years and had hauled out as much gold from the country as they could ship.
The Brazilians thank Napoleon for their independence. Why? In 1808, French troops commanded by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Portugal as a retaliation for the Iberian country’s refusal to participate in the trade embargo against the United Kingdom.
Fleeing persecution, the Portuguese monarchs transferred the Portuguese Court from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, then capital of Colonial Brazil. In 1815, Prince Regent John VI created the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, elevating Brazil to the rank of kingdom and increasing its administrative independence.
On September 2, 1822, a new decree with Lisbon’s demands arrived in Rio de Janeiro, while Prince Pedro was in São Paulo. Princess Maria Leopoldina, acting as Princess Regent, met with the Council of Ministers and decided to send her husband a letter advising him to proclaim Brazil’s independence. The letter reached Prince Pedro on September 7, 1822. That same day, in a famous scene at the shore of the Ipiranga River, he declared the country’s independence, ending 322 years of colonial dominance of Portugal over Brazil.
Now, in cities and towns worldwide, Brazil’s independence is celebrated with the Samba, parades, feasting and fun. And why not? It’s the Brazilian cocktail of Portugese, African and other various expats that has made Brazil unique.
Here’s how we’re celebrating this year.
Brazilian Feijoada (fay-schwada)
The National dish that came from the Portugese not only to Brazil but to many of their other colonies. It’s a rich, meaty stew, that tastes better the second day. You can freely substitute beans, depending on what you have on hand. When in Brazil, I saw it made with pintos, white beans, as well as the traditional black beans.
Ditto with the meats. While the Brazilians throw in dried beef, its not that available here in the states, so I just left it out. But if you have some beef jerky lying about, feel free to toss it in.
This is basically a slow-cooked peasant dish that just begs for a pan of corn bread. There, how’s that for a fusion dinner.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds dried black beans, soaked overnight and drained
3 1/2 quarts water
1 pound fresh spicy sausage, such as linguiça
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork chops
3/4 pound lean slab bacon
3/4 pound chorizo, in one piece
1 dried red chile
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy casserole. Add the garlic and onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the drained black beans. Add the water to the casserole and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add all of the meats and the dried chile and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour longer. 2. Remove the meats from the casserole and thickly slice them; discard any bones. Pick out and discard the chile. Season the beans with salt. Ladle the beans into shallow bowls and serve with the sliced meats.
Make Ahead The feijoada can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently. Serve With Sautéed collard greens. The Brazilians roll the raw collards like a cigar, cut them chiffonade and quickly cook them in a skillet with garlic and a bit of oil. Yummy.