Brazilian-Inspired Black Bean Stew
Though inspired by Brazil’s famous national dish (feijoada), this stew doesn’t claim to be authentic, but is abundant with nourishing ingredients. I love the contrast of the black beans and sweet potatoes, both flavor-wise and visually. Serve with steamed fresh greens and a tropical fruit salad or orange slices, as shown here. Thanks to Nanette Blanchard for the lovely photo! See the comments by a Brazilian reader, below, on how this differs from the national dish.
Serves: 6 to 8
- 1 cup tomato juice or tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 cups cooked black beans, or two 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup diced ripe tomatoes, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 small fresh hot green chili, or more to taste,
or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, or more to taste, plus garnish
- Salt to taste
Combine the tomato juice and 3 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the rice, then lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Stir the diced sweet potatoes into the pot along with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, until the sweet potato dice are just tender but still firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, and chili. Simmer gently for 15 minutes more, uncovered. Stir in the cilantro or parsley and season to taste with salt. Serve over the hot cooked rice and garnish each serving with additional fresh herb.
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