Grace Parisi's Feijoada

My old Brazilian nanny, feeling displaced and perpetually homesick (Brazilians call it saudade), would only crack a smile when I made Brazil's national dish feijoada, which, for the sake of my family's happiness, turned out to be a weekly occurrence. It's a hearty stew made with black beans, pork shoulder, carne seca (dried beef like beef jerky), linguiça calabresa (a pork sausage like kielbasa) and hunks of slab bacon. It's quite a project—one that I reserve for the weekend. But saudade doesn't differentiate between weekday and weekend, so I found myself making a fast version. I like to use canned beans, serrano ham, prosciutto or bresaola (Italian air-dried beef) because it most closely approximates carne seca's slightly-gamey, meaty flavor.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ pound slab bacon, cut into 3 pieces

  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2 jalapeños or serrano chiles, whole

  • 1 pound dried black beans, sorted and rinsed

  • ½ pound serrano ham, in one piece, cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • Steamed rice for serving


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crusty, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  2. Add the onion, garlic, and chiles to the pot and cook over low heat until barely softened, 5 minutes. Add the beans and 8 cups of water.

  3. Return the bacon to the pot, along with the serrano ham, nestling them into the beans. Add the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are nearly tender, 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  4. Add the sausage and cook uncovered, until the meat and beans are tender and the liquid is slightly thickened, 30 minutes. Discard the chiles, bay leaf, and thyme sprig, and serve with rice.

Make Ahead

The feijoada can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for 1 month.

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