We were so blessed to have my mother come stay when Everett was first born and then my mother-in-law for the next 3 weeks. Many people say that the first few weeks are a dark period of time, some clouded with depression and all with a lack of sleep that leaves you feeling quite un-normal. Because our home was filled with such maternal care, not only did we avoid that dark time, we truly relished every newborn moment. And good food didn’t hurt either. One of the meals we enjoyed from my mother-in-law, Lana, was her recipe for Feijoada, or Brazilian Beans and Rice.
Beans and Rice are the comfort food of many cultures and also a perfect balance of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. And if you use brown rice, you’ll double the amount of magnesium, potassium and zinc, and add six times more fiber. If you want even more nutritional boost, add tomato or sweet peppers for vitamin C, or spinach or carrots for both vitamins A and C. Beans and Rice are both economical and they create a filling dish that also provides 30-40% of the energy you need through the day. And I need all the energy I can get these days!
Feijoada is pretty easy to make, though it does take some time. The ingredients for Feijoada are simple, standard ingredients you’ll have in your kitchen. And the Brazilians do it right, adding pork to enrich the flavor.
Another beautiful thing about Brazilian culture is their strength within extended family. Though Lana isn’t Brazilian, she does have some of Brazil in her blood, having living there for 8 years! In Brazil, like in many cultures, it isn’t uncommon to have multi-generational households, and your family surrounds you during important times in your life. This isn’t as common in America but I found that our 3 week stay with my mother in law was just what we needed to transition into parenthood. We found beauty and blessing in our brief experience with multi generational living. From the hum of lullabies coming from the nursery, to the folded laundry on my bed, her calming presence was felt throughout our home; we learned from her years of experience, and her food enriched us as well!
A simple recipe for Feijoada, a Brazilian beans and rice dish.
- 2 cups dry black beans, soaked overnight
- 1 lb turkey sausage, cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- brown rice, for serving
Soak black beans over night.
The next day, drain and rinse the beans. In a large pot or crock pot add beans and cover with water and stock. Add the diced onion, minced cloves of garlic, and bay leaves. Bring the beans to a simmer and cook until soft (about an hour and a half over the stove top), adding more stock or water if necessary. Add the sausage about 20-30 minutes before the beans are done.
Season to taste with salt as needed. Serve with brown rice and a classic Brazilian side dish of sautéed kale.
For more flavorful rice, cook the rice with some diced onion and garlic, sautéed then add chicken broth instead of water. (same water to rice ratio with the broth)