Brazilian food on the AGA – Chef Erich Ribeiro

I’m sure you will agree that colour is a vital part of visualisation, after all they say we ‘eat with the eyes’.  Today filing is all about Brazil and I’m looking forward to a day of colourful explosions.  I’m thinking of images I’ve seen on the TV from the Rio Carnival and thinking about how these will work with the 13 colours of AGA that are available.   You know the drill, jump on tube, Google for information about today’s dish and arrive at Divertimenti to film with the chef.

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Today’s Googling revealed a plethora of colour about Brazil, not only is it the fifth largest country in the world by both size and population and originally a colony of Portugal until independence in 1822.  It has 26 States, costal regions, mountain regions and the Amazon.  Famous for its statue of Christ the Redeemer and it’s football, a country I have always wanted to visit.

Chef Erich Ribero meets me at Divertimenti sporting a smile the length of the Amazon and thoroughly excited that we are cooking what is considered the national dish of Brazil: Feijoada.  A dish I had not come across before.  Erich speaks fast, he’s so keen to tell the world about his country.  Erich is a Head Chef in Battersea, he’s worked all over London, cooking a mixture of global and Brazilian food.  “Don’t you know how to cook Feijoada James…  oh really, come on I show you” he talks in a rhyming voice to me.  I remind him that cooking for camera is different to cooking in a restaurant; we need all of the ingredients laid out in bowls for the camera before cooking.  Erich finds this a little different to life in a restaurant.  I have to ask him to explain the dish clearly to me so that I can hear exactly the method.  Bing a cookery writer is very different to being a chef, chefs cook by instinct (cookery writers do too!) but, cookery writers have to get every little bit of the dish composition down, are onions chopped or sliced? Is the chorizzo in the Feijoada cubed or sliced or indeed whole?  All so that you, dear reader can create a perfect Brazilian Feijoada at home in your AGA.

Erich starts to explain the dish as we talk on camera, its a dish made by slaves where they cook the left over bits of pork from their masters house that the masters don’t want, like the trotters and cheeks with beans.  It’s November now, it’s cold and wet outside and as we film this casserole I’m thinking of just how perfect this meal is for the weather we are in.  Erich explains just how big Brazil is, how regional the food is and as he talks he tells me that the UK as a whole is smaller than the State he comes from.

We cook the Feijoada in the AGA Simmering Oven and serve it in an iconic Divertimenti dish, Solimene tableware that Divertimenti were first to sell in the UK 1963, 50 years ago when Divertimenti opened.  Erich explains the dish is also served with wilted kale that has cassava flour sprinkled on top.  I try it, I finally warm through on this wet November day, the flavours of the different cuts of pork shine through, the beans had thickened it beautifully.

I spot a new item in the AGA Cookshop Collection, the ‘Iconic’ range of AGA textiles in various shades of AGA colours.  I realise now that this is what today is all about, the colour of Brazil, the smile from Erich’s face, and the colours of AGA mixed with the bright colours of Solimene cookware and the mix of flavours in the Feijoada.

Feijoada

Feijoada is a pork and black bean stew traditionally prepared in a thick clay pot and is described as the national dish of Brazil.  Created by slaves using the leftovers from what their masters did not like to eat.

Serves 4

1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 bay leafs

250g chorizzo, chopped

450g pork pieces

250g ham hock, shredded

411g can black beans and liquid

411g can chopped tomatoes

Extra water if required

Method

Heat the oil in an AGA 2.5L cast iron casserole on the AGA Boiling Plate, when hot, add the onions, garlic and bay leafs and sauté until soft.  This can be done on the AGA Boiling Plate or by placing the lid on top and placing into the AGA Simmering Oven for 10 minutes.

Add the chorizzo and stir through until the oil starts to leach out.  Add the pork and cook to seal the edges of the meat.

Add all remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.  Place into the AGA Simmering Oven and cook for at least 2 hours although if cooked for 3-4 hours, this will not over cook.

Serve with rice and wilted kale with cassava flour.

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