Last weekend we fired up our outdoor wood-burning oven for a party where we cooked 26 pizzas for a bunch of friends. I love cooking in the oven but it takes about 1 ½ hours to get the temperature up to the 700°F to 800°F necessary for proper cooking. Once hot, the oven walls absorb a lot of the heat and will stay warm all night at about 250°F, perfect for slow cooking something in a Dutch oven.
So whenever I fire up the oven for pizza, I try to prepare something like this Brazilian beef stew (also called Feijoada) earlier in the day and stick it in the oven after we are done making pizza and it has cooled down some. You don't need a wood-burning oven to prepare this Brazilian Stew. In fact, the recipe calls for a slow cooker (crock pot) but a Dutch Oven works fine too and should take a little less time.
I'm going to say it right up front; in my opinion the kielbasa makes this dish special. The beef is good but I thought it was a little dry and that could be because of the length of time I cooked it or the cut of meat I used but the kielbasa was fantastic. Tender, melt in your mouth kind of good. I would suggest increasing the amount of kielbasa you use. I will next time.
I also switched some of the black beans for cannellini beans. Not sure why but I love the flavor and texture of cannellini beans. I did, however, puree a can of black beans as the recipe suggests. Not only did the black beans add flavor, they thickened the stew.
I doubled up on this recipe because I started with 2 pounds of stew meat in the freezer and the recipe only called for 1 pound. I'm going to post the amounts listed in the magazine article that serves 6 but then again, that depends on who the 6 people are.
When I pulled the stew out of the oven on Sunday morning, it smelled so good I had to have a small bowl just to make sure it tasted OK. It did and later I found out when I was out on bagel run, my wife had the same idea.
For dinner, we served the stew over rice - half white/ half brown. The kids must have enjoyed it, they both asked to have it for school lunch on Monday. CuisineAtHome suggests serving traditional rice and collard greens on the side but I don't think I can get my kids to eat collards just yet. Soon I hope.