If you like Brazilian food, this one is for you: Feijão Tropeiro. A traditional dish from Minas Gerais, made with beans, bacon, sausage, collard greens, eggs and manioc flour.
You guys asked for it, so here it is! ❤️
No wonder this is by far the most requested recipe on this blog to this date. Feijão Tropeiro is really to die for and is the ultimate Brazilian dish. As in, as I was eating it, I felt like I was home!
Funny how that works! I am always amazed at this insane power that food has, not only nourishing our bodies but also our souls. There is definitely something special about the act of eating: it can stimulate a wide range of feelings and transport us to all sorts of places!
Good food should be able to satisfy your hunger AND your spirit, it should improve your mood and it should connect us to one another. That, right there, is the reason I write this food blog! I celebrate the joy of food and my recipes are the projection of my heart. From me, to you, to your families and friends, to the world. We are all one, connecting from the moment an ingredient leaves the farmer’s hand to making its way onto our forks.
This might read a little “hippie”, I know, but it is so true. I guess if you, like me, are living far away from your country, it is easier to understand the solace that only a dish from home can bring.
I think that’s why Brazilian restaurants here in the U.S. are so expensive. The ingredients for the food they sell are cheap, but they know Brazilians will come no matter what, because they need that emotional connection from a plate of Brazilian food.
Did I scare you already? Are you running for the hills thinking I am completely crazy?
Hopefully not. I have a feeling we share the same passion for food and that you are now dying to make this Feijão Tropeiro, to see what could have possibly awoken all of these strong emotions in me. Am I right? 😊
It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary. This dish is made from simple, easy to find (in Brazil, but we’ll get to that!) ingredients and is usually made with leftovers. If you don’t usually have leftover beans, that’s okay! Just be prepared to wash lots of dishes. Totally worth it, though!
Feijão Tropeiro translates to “Cattleman’s Beans”. I’ll explain: back in Brazil’s colonial times, troops of cattlemen – known as “tropeiros”, in Portuguese – would travel long distances to explore the inland territories of Brazil and transport cattle and commodities.
The expeditions were long and could last for months, so they carried certain staple provisions – that didn’t need any refrigeration – along with them, like dried beans, carne seca (salted dried meat) and manioc flour.
These ingredients were eventually combined into one hearty and filling dish, the Feijão Tropeiro, which since then carries the nickname of the explorers.
As the dish became popular throughout the country, many cooks have come up with their own interpretations, using different types of beans and meat or adding other ingredients. Everybody’s mother or grandmother makes a delicious Feijão Tropeiro and swear by it. I swear by my version, but feel free to modify according to your likings, so you can swear by YOUR version!
I am suggesting substitutes for the ingredients I think you won’t find as easily if you’re not in Brazil. Again, this is a very forgiving dish, so if you can’t get your hands on the right type of beans or sausage, use whatever you can find.
Some people say that a Feijão Tropeiro, to be authentic, has to have beans, meat and manioc flour. If you don’t have a Brazilian market near by, you can order Manioc flour through Amazon. If you don’t wanna do that, you can either use coarse corn meal or just omit the flour! It won’t be authentic, but it will still be delicious.
Feijão Tropeiro is traditionally served with white rice and torresmos (fried pork cracklings). It sometimes acts as the “side dish”. For me, it is the star of my table, so I served with rice and a sunny side egg on top. (I like my egg crispy on the sides, don’t judge!)
Whether you are a Brazilian living far from home, the spouse or significant other of a Brazilian living far from home who wants to cook something nice for your loved one, or just someone who is intrigued to try Feijão Tropeiro, I am 100% sure you will love this!
I am really glad you guys asked for this recipe. Keep the requests coming! They keep my creativity flowing and give me ideas of what dishes to share here with you. You don’t have to request only Brazilian dishes. Anything, from any part of the world, is fair game. 😉
Have a great week! ❤️
- 1 pound dry carioca beans (substitute: pinto beans), rinsed *
- 2 bay leaves, dried or fresh
- 6 cups water
- 1 bunch collard greens, rinsed and dried
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 14 ounces calabresa sausage, sliced (substitute: chorizo, smoked kielbasa or any other smoked sausage)
- ½ pound thick sliced bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
- 5 eggs
- 1 to 1½ cups toasted manioc flour (depending on how moist you like your dish)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley and green onions to taste
- Start by cooking your beans. My preferred method is using a pressure cooker: combine the beans, bay leaves and water in your pot. Secure the lid and bring it to the stove, over high heat. When it reaches high pressure, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pot to cool down and release all the pressure naturally. When ready to open, unlock and remove the lid. Check if the beans are al dente. If not, cook them longer, in 5 minute increments. (Note: this method is for stove top pressure cookers. If you are using an electric pressure cooker, follow your cooker's instructions to cook beans.)
- You can also cook your beans the conventional way, on the stove, but it will take longer. Just bring the beans, bay leaves and water to a boil, over medium-high heat. When boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until al dente, adding more water as needed to keep the beans submerged. The cooking process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Be patient! (Or get a pressure cooker.)
- When the beans are done, drain all the water and reserve.
- Remove the stems of the collard greens leaves. Then, stack a few leaves on top of each other and roll that stack into a cylinder. Using a chef knife, slice the collard greens into thin strips. Repeat with all the leaves.
- Place the oil in a medium-sized skillet and place it over medium heat. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add them to the pan. Cook, stirring gently, until they are scrambled. Reserve.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 3 cloves of garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the collard greens and cook until withered, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
- Using that same pan, over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown the sausage until it starts to get crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve. Discard the fat.
- In the same pan, add the bacon and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Then, stir in the onions and remaining garlic, cooking until translucent (about 3 more minutes). Add the drained beans and the sausage and cook for a minute, letting the beans soak up all those amazing flavors. Then, add the eggs and the collard greens, stirring until everything is well combined. Season generoulsy with salt and pepper. Then, add the manioc flour (to taste), a handful at a time, stirring until it is moist and incorporated into the dish.
- Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the parsley and green onions.
- Serve immediately!
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