My Riff on Feijoada

November 15, 2021  •  Beans & Grains, Meat & Poultry, One Dish Meals

Traditional feijoada, widely considered the national dish of Brazil, uses such “lesser” cuts of meat as pig’s feet, tail, and tongue. I had none of these on hand, but I did have a large, meaty pork shank that wasn’t going to be much good on its own, and that was my inspiration.Don’t be fooled but that semi-coked pork shank – while it may look like there isn’t any decent meat on it, when I separated the bones and fat and gristle there was still a pound and a half of pork that just needed to get tenderized.

The traditional version of Brazilian feijoada uses black beans, but I happened to have some cooked red beans in the freezer I needed to put to use. This is what I like to call global improv cooking – you start with the general idea and basics of a recipe and ingredients, but adapt it for what you have on hand. I’ve never had the traditional version of this dish – some day I hope to visit Brazil to try it, but for now, my version is pretty darn good!

My Riff on Feijoada
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You can start this recipe with the pork shank still frozen.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Brazilian
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 meaty pork shank (cooked meat should yield about 1 to 1½ pounds)
  • 1 pound lose pork chorizo sausage
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2-3 large bay leaves
  • 3 cups cooked black or red beans
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish
  1. Add the water to the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) and put the rack in the bottom. Place the frozen pork shank on the rack, cover, close the vent, and cook on pressure cooker high for 1½ hours. Let the pressure release naturally then remove the shank to a cutting board until it's cool enough to handle.
  2. While the shank is cooking, cook he chorizo in a skillet over medium high heat, using a wooden spoon to break it apart while cooking. Set aside.
  3. Remove the bones and fat of the shank and discard; roughly chop the meat. Return the meat to the Instant Pot, keeping just enough of the cooking liquid to cover the meat. Add the chorizo, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and bay leaves, and cook for one more hour on the high pressure cooker setting.
  4. After steam has released, add the beans to the mixture and slow cook for one hour before serving over white rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.


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