To quote the cinematic classic that is Cool Runnings – I’m feeling very Olympic today! As things heat up in Rio I thought it only fitting to share a hearty recipe from Brazil that will give some nice, slow release carbohydrates for the athlete in all of us.
Brazil grows more Black Beans than almost any other nation (bar India) – beans even have their own spot on the Brazilian food pyramid. The Brazilian answer to our Healthy Food Guide recommends a serving a daily serving to maintain the health of its nation – who am I to argue with that?
Most of us think of brightly coloured fruit and veg as our best sources of phytonutrients but the outer seed coat of the black bean packs quite the nutritional punch and is a good source of 3 different anthocyanins.
Black beans contain 3.6 milligrams of iron per cup, a fairly decent amount for a non-meat source. They are high in fibre – 15 grams/cup of cooked beans – and contain both insoluble fiber, which helps improve digestive-tract functioning and prevents constipation, and soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol and blood-glucose levels. That’s like an Olympic nutritional triple threat.
Feijoada (pronounced fay-zhwah-duh) has been described as the national dish of Brazil, in particular Rio de Janeiro – home to this years Olympic Games. She’s a gorgeous hearty black bean stew, traditionally made with salted pork – at least 2 kinds of sausage, bacon, smoked ribs, ears, tails & feet – I’m talking top to bottom.
Not only from a nutritional perspective but also a budget friendly one (that is a lot of meat!) I’ve made a vegetarian version that takes all the goodness of black beans, adds to it a load of veg & flavours it with the smoky gorgeousness of chipotle chilli in adobo sauce.
- 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 x 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin of black beans
- 1 red capsicum, chopped
- 1 green capsicum, chopped
- 1 x 200g tin of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (in the mexican section of your supermarket)
- 1 tbsp of cumin powder
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup of roughly chopped parsley
- The zest of 1 small orange
- 2 cups of boiled brown rice
- Set a heavy-based saucepan on to a medium heat. Add the olive oil and the diced onion and gently sauté until soft and translucent. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for a further minute.
- Add the red & green capsicum to then pan and stir to combine then add the tinned tomatoes.
- Drain the liquid from the tin of black beans (don't rinse the beans - the left over starchy liquid is good to thicken the sauce). Add to the saucepan along with the cumin and smoked paprika and stir to combine.
- Take out 2 of the chillies from the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, finely dice them then add them to the saucepan along with 2 tbsp of the adobo sauce* from the tin. There will be some left over, place in a plastic container and refrigerate for further use.
- Give everything a good stir to combine then place a lid on the saucepan, lower the heat and simmer for around 20-30 or until the capsicum has softened.
- Meanwhile, place the roughly chopped parsley and then orange zest in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- To serve, divide the cooked brown rice between 4 bowls and top the feijoada then garnish with the parsley and zest.
- Enjoy xx
- *if you like a bit of spice, feel free to add some more adobo sauce or do the opposite if milder is more your flavour.