Ricardo (from Brazil) sent me this recipe. He and other students from Brazil cooked it for all of us (teachers and students) last summer and I liked it a lot. Because of that I want to share it here…

They cooked it without bacon because some of us are vegetarian.

Feijao, pronounced fay-szong, is a Brazilian staple, and appears on every restaurant table throughout Brazil. Brazilians simply can’t get enough of the stuff. Why? Well it tastes good, and provides them with boundless energy.

Feeling listless, tired, and sapped of energy? Eat some beans!

Beans are high in protein and iron, and provide lasting energy throughout the day, which makes them a fantastic alternative to meat as an energy source.

Arroz (rice) com Feijão is rich in protein and is generally eaten with a wide variety of side dishes.

The combination of rice and beans contains all essential amino acids. For this reason, the combination of rice and beans is eaten in many cultures. This is a matter of survival for poor people who cannot afford meat!

Arroz com Feijão is easy to make. The inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro prefer black beans, whereas the brown bean species feijão carioquinha or feijão carioca is more and more used in the rest of Brazil.

Before serving this meal, you can serve a caipirinha as an appetizer. “Caipirinha” is a mixture of lime juice, sugar and “cachaza” a strong liquor derived from sugar cane.

Ingredients (serves 6)

· 500 g (1 pound) feijão (small, dried black beans or feijão carioca).

· 150 g (5,3 ounce) bacon

· 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

· 1 chopped union

· 2 bay leaves

· salt to taste

· pepper to taste

· baking oil

Rinse the beans thoroughly. Remove the discoloured beans. Soak the beans overnight.

Put the beans and their soaking water in a pan. Add water (double the amount of the beans) and let it cook. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes and let it simmer. Add boiling water when necessary so that the beans do not dry out. The beans are ready when they are tender: if you take one between your fingers, you can crush it to paste. This will take 2 to 3 hours but if you use a pressure cooker you can do it in 30-45 minutes. Do not add salt in this stage as it hardens the beans.

Sauté the garlic and the onion with some salt in a frying pan (use a large frying pan as you will add the beans later!). Add the bacon and fry until crisp.

Add your beans and their liquid to the onions in the frying pan. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, until your liquid thickens because of the crushed beans. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.

Spanish school Verbum - Students from BrazilThe students from Brazil who cooked Feijão for all of us and me at the school´s garden.