As part of my journey on how to live a quality life that is both balanced and purposeful, I have decided to focus on improving my cooking skills for the New Year.
As part of my 2016 New Year’s Resolution, I’ve decided to cook a special meal once a week and share my culinary adventures with you.
Having done my 2015 review, I realised that cooking a special meal was a recurring commonality throughout the past few years for me. I noticed that it was something that I simply enjoyed doing.
The fact that I got a bunch of cookbooks for Christmas from Santa Claus was a welcome nudge. One of them was “Everyday Super Food” by Jamie Oliver.
I’ve always been interested in diet and a healthy lifestyle so this is a natural progression to my interests.
With these new books, I can delve into cooking with purpose.
How To Cook Smoky Veggie Feijoada With Black Beans, Squash, Peppers and Okra
This recipe is from “Everyday Super Food” by Jamie Oliver. Cook time is 1 hour and 5 mins and serves 2 + 4 leftover Feijoada portions.
- ½ a butternut squash (600g)
- olive oil
- 1 heaped tsp each of ground coriander, smoked paprika
- 3 mixed-colour peppers
- 2 red onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 2 x 400g tins of black beans
- 100g okra
- 150g brown rice
- 2 ripe mixed-colour tomatoes
- ½–1 fresh red chilli
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander (30g)
- 1 lime
- 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Halve and deseed the squash, then carefully chop into 3cm chunks.
Never before in my life have I made a butternut squash. Here’s a useful video on how to prepare it:
In a large roasting tray, toss and massage it with 1 teaspoon of oil, the ground coriander and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Deseed the peppers and cut into 3cm chunks, then, in a separate tray, toss and massage them with 1 teaspoon of oil and the smoked paprika. Place both trays in the oven for 35 minutes, or until softened.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop ¼ of an onion and put aside, then roughly chop the rest and place in a large casserole pan on a low heat with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Here’s a great video by Gordon Ramsey on how to finely chop an onion:
Crush in the garlic, add the bay leaves and a good splash of water and cook for 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly.
Be weary of how much water you choose to ‘splash’.
Tip in the beans, juice and all, then half-fill each empty tin with water, swirl and pour into the pan.
At this stage I was thinking – is this how it’s supposed look like? I think my version of a ‘splash’ was more generous, so I cooked the stew without the lid on to allow for some of the water to evaporate.
Simmer until the time is up on the squash and peppers, then stir both into the pan.
Trim, finely slice and add the okra, and simmer for a further 20 minutes, or until the feijoada is dark and delicious, loosening with an extra splash of water, if needed.
Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the packet instructions, then drain.
I’ve never prepared okra, let alone eaten it before. Here’s a good tutorial on what to pay attention to when preparing okra:
To make a quick salsa, deseed the tomatoes, then finely chop with as much chilli as you like and most of the coriander leaves.
Scrape into a bowl with the reserved finely chopped onion and toss with the lime juice, then season to perfection.
I used a teaspoon to deseed the tomatoes. I like how you can learn little important details about everyday things just by watching a couple of videos.
Here’s a video on how to properly prepare coriander:
Serve the remaining feijoada with the rice and salsa, a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkling of the remaining coriander leaves.
- Calories: 532kcal
- Fat: 7.9g
- Saturated Fat: 1.9g
- Protein: 19.9g
- Carbs: 93.6g
- Sugar: 17.6g
- Fibre: 20.1g
Closing thoughts about the recipe
This was interesting.
The pepper and squash gave the stew a sweet, exotic taste to the recipe.
The butternut squash chunks I had sliced were perhaps a bit thicker than the 3cm that the recipe had suggested. For this reason, the squash sweetened the stew a bit more.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, although I’m not a fan of squashes in general.
The salsa was a very welcome part of the dish and it was really refreshing when combined with the natural yoghurt.
On a side note, one of my culinary guinea pigs said that my version of the feijoada lacked acidic ingredients (e.g. peppers, chilli, smoked paprika).
Cooking is about heat control. Flavour is about striking a balance between the acidic and the alkaline.
– My Bro
The recipe is quite alkaline-heavy (i.e. squash, black beans, okra) so it’s easy to offset the flavour balance of the dish. I did just that.
The result? After a while, you craved for a bit of a kick and you even got a bit nauseous eating it. It lacked that all important acidic part.
That’s why the refreshing, acidic salsa was a godsend, which only slightly balanced things out.
This took quite a ridiculously long time for me to make (roughly 1 hour 45 minutes).
The stew cooked a lot longer than suggested by Jamie because I had put too much water into the pan. As a result, the smoky flavour wasn’t as distinctive as I thought it would be. For future reference, I would only add the splash if necessary.
In a nutshell:
- More squash = more sweetness.
- Balance the alkaline with the acidic flavours.
- Don’t dilute the flavour with too much water.
- Save the splash of water if unnecessary.
Any other ideas on what I could have done better in this recipe? Any interesting twists to the recipe worth mentioning?
Let me know in the comments below 🙂
This recipe was from “Everyday Super Food” by Jamie Oliver.
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