Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Rio Fejoida Birthday

I was very lucky to time my birthday to be staying in Rio, for the second time, with familiar people in Brian and his family. When I informed them of my birthday ahead of time, they began planning. I had mentioned when I arrived that I had wanted to learn to make fejoida, the national dish of brasil, so it was already decided what would be cooked for my birthday.
Well, also, it was already chosen what would be done for my birthday. There was a Brasil world cup game that day. As I’ve mentioned before, the country stops and watches each game. So, it was already decided that we would watch the game at Brian’s place, and his mom would make fejoida.

A few days before my birthday, I went with Dulce to pick out most of the ingredients for fejoida. We picked up the black beans, the white rice, and 6 types of meats. If you’re curious, here are the types of meat that Dulce likes to use in her fejoida (in Portuguese):

Lombo de porco salgado.
Linguica calabresa
Carne seca (another name: charque)
Costela de porco
Pes de porco
Carne fresco

Basically, that sums up as sausage, a dry meat, a fresh meat, pig feet, bacon/pork fat, and some other miscellaneous meats. We left with a full shopping cart, since Dulce decided to make fejoida for about 15 people! Brian was going to invite some friends over for the game, to enjoy the fejoida, and to celebrate my birthday.

On Friday, Dulce began cooking at about 830 am. Fejoida really does not take too long to cook. We dumped the black beans and uncut meats into two pressure cookers. From there, it was about 20 minutes after they got going. We then dumped the contents of the two pressure cookers into a very large pot, where it was mixed and simmered with sautéed onions and garlic until the flavors settled in. Finally, the meat was removed, cut up, and served on a separate platter from the beans and rice. The fejoida condiments were kale sautéed with bacon bits and garlic, and ground mandioca.

So while Dulce was finishing up the fejoida in the first half of the game, 7 or 8 of us were there, glued to the television, with drinks. Dulce also brought out these tiny espresso cups full of fejoida broth and topped with green onions as a bit of an appetizer, and wow, scrumptious.

Fejoida was ready during halftime, and everyone dug in. Food coma. Good thing Brasil was won the game comfortably, because we did not need to pay to close attention to the game in the second half with the food hangover. After the fejoida, they brought out a load of tangerines. Actually, we ate these after most meals (apparently, it reduces your gas!).
After the game, some more of Brians friends came over. I had met most people my first time around in Rio, so it was good to see people a second time (one of the things I enjoy most about my trip). Then, Dulce brought out a nice chocolate cake. They put a candle on it, and sang happy birthday, first in English, then in Portuguese, of which I understood none. The cake (storebought), was deeeeeelicous.

So, overall it was a great, unique birthday. Soccer, fejoida, and good friends. Here's some photos:

Dulce showing me how fejoida is made:

Two pressure cookers for the fejoida:

Removing the top to see if its done:

Fejaou (sp?) was served as an appetizer. Basically, fejoida broth, that they topped with green onions. Really delicious:

Sauteeing the kale. The fejoida is in the pot on the left:

The finished kale & ground mandioca (falafa they call it):

Served up on the table:

Luiz, Catarina, and Manuel (before chowing down):

Part of the group. Hooray for fejoida and Brasil game:

Gabi and some of her friends stopped in after the game to say hello:

They even bought a cake:

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