Original beer really was original.
Today's recipe, which will be the last bolinho recipe for a while, is different. It's not a traditional recipe whose origins are lost in those fabled mists of time. We know whose idea is was to make a bolinho with the ingredients and flavors of Brazil's national dish feijoada - Kátia Barbosa e Kadu Tomé, owners, respectively, of Rio de Janeiro botecos Aconchego Carioca and Bracarense. They came up with the idea jointly at a gastronomic festival in the state of Minas Gerais, and according to website Receitaculo, the first attempts were less than successful.
Once back in Rio Kátia continued to play with the recipe and discovered that the secrets to making a great bolinho de feijoada were two. First, the bean-based fritters should be chilled thoroughly, almost to freezing, before cooking. Second, the oil used to fry them should be very hot, so that the dough is cooked through and the kale stuffing is hot.
At Kátia's bar, Aconchego Carioca, she serves her bolinhos de feijoada accompanied by slices of orange, fried pork-rinds (torresmo) and a batida de limão, a lime-juice cocktail. The current price is R$15 per portion or about USD $8.50. In a recent edition of the Comida di Buteco competition, these bolinhos were judged the second-best bar-food recipe in Rio de Janeiro.
RECIPE - Feijoada Fritters (Bolinho de Feijoada)
8 cups (2 liters) water
1 lb (500 gr) dried black beans
4 oz (100 gr) dried, salted beef (carne seca) - desalted and cut into very small cubes
4 oz (100 gr) pork loin - cut into very small cubes
2 links Italian, Spanish or Portuguese-style garlic sausage - peeled and cut into very small cubes
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste
300 gr fresh farinha (manioc flour)
1 Tbsp manioc starch (polvilho azedo)
1/2 lb (250 gr) smoked bacon, cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bunches kale, washed, destemmed and cut into thin strips
additional farinha (manioc flour) for breading
neutral vegetable oil for frying
In a pressure cooker, add the water and combine with the beans, the cubed meats (except the bacon) and the bay leaves. Cover as directed, and place over medium high heat. Counting from when the pressure takes, cook for one hour. Remove from heat, let cool completely, then open the pressure cooker. Reserve.
Once the mixture in the pressure cooker is completely cooled, blend the beans, the broth and meats (discard the bay leaves) in a blender until homogenous and smooth. Do this is batches if necessary.
In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil, then fry the garlic until it just begins to brown. Add the blended bean mixture and correct the seasoning with salt. By small handfuls, begin to add the manioc flour, stirring constantly. Mix each batch in completely before adding another. When the mass (called tutu in Portuguese) begins to pull away cleanly from the side of the pan remove from heat, transfer the tutu to another pan or bowl and cool completely. Once it is cool, mix in the manioc starch and knead the mass until it is smooth and homogenous. Reserve.
In a large frying pan cook the bacon cubes until they are browned and crispy and have rendered their fat. Add the garlic cloves and cook for a minute or two more. Add the strips of kale and stir-fry only until the kale takes on color and softens slightly. Remove from heat.
Using wet hands or plastic gloves begin to form the balls. Grab a golf-ball-sized chunk of dough and open it out to disc shape in your palm. Put about 1 tsp of the cooked kale in the middle and close the dough around the filling, sealing it well. Roll the ball in farinha to lightly bread it then place it on a cookie sheet. Continue the process, placing finished balls on the cookie sheet, until all ingredients have been used up.
Place the cookie sheet in a freezer and cool until very cold but not frozen (about one hour).
Meanwhile prepare your deep-fryer and heat the oil until very hot but not smoking. Remove just enough balls from the freeze to make a first batch. Add them to the hot oil and cook, rolling them over from time to time, until the outside is deep brown and crispy and the filling is cooked through. Drain on paper towel and reserve, keeping warm, until all the balls have been fried.
Serve immediately, accompanied as above if desired.
Recipe translated and adapted from Receitaculo.com.