Monday, May 23, 2011

Brazil, the Conclusion

A brief recap for the amnesiacs among us.  Here is Part One in whole.

We already have some rice and shredded kale.  The embassy recommended Feijoada, which is basically a lot of meat plus a little bit of other stuff.  No store remained untoched in my quest for all of the parts.  There is still a...
Last time for Brazil, I promise.
So what is that meat that I haven't introduced you to yet?  My recipe books calls it out as optional: one pork foot, eat, tail, tongue.  If that is optional, I'm not touching it, right?

Except then I saw it at the Commissary.  If it is staring me in the face, can I really walk away?  It is authentic!  Plus then I could write about it!  I would like to introduce to you: the pig's foot.
I told Kevin to react appropriately to it.
Tesla investigated.  Curie would have none of it.
To prove to you what it is.
The real problem here is what in the world do I do with it?  The recipe doesn't tell me to cut it up.  It doesn't tell me if I should keep it in for serving.  I balked and put it in whole but took it out at the end.  Like a bay leaf.  Because they are so similar.

The rest of the recipe basically goes as follows:

Soak and then cook dry black beans (Done overnight)
Boil meat until cooked
Render bacon in oil
Add onion, garlic, and sherry vinegar to bacon and carmelize the onions
Add some black beans and mash them, cook for a few minutes with a bay leaf
Mix together, including some of the meat boiling liquid and some more beans
Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

Unfortunately, I only needed about a half cup of most of the meats, which caused some leftovers.
It's mixed "meat"ia art.  *Sigh*  Kevin is a bad influence.
The foot kinda...sticks out a bit.
All of the meat that was left over.
 Don't worry though.  The ribs will be barbeque on Sunday.  The Canadian bacon went into breakfast burritos.  The ham hock was used for split pea soup and the beef will probably make some tasty fajitas.  Still searching for uses for the sausage and pork.  Oh, and the other feet.

Let's get down to cooking!
Chunks o'fat!
Mmmm, bean mash.  Like the Monster Mash, only tastier.
The almost finished product.
Cooked foot.
I didn't really have much time to take cute pictures during all of this, but luckily Tesla poses all of the time, so I have a bunch to choose from.  Born a model.  Where was Curie?  Probably off in her secret kingdom.  During the night, she shred the bottom of our new box springs to the point where she could explore in there.  But we can't climb in, so getting her out is difficult.  Luckily, with a quick Google search, a staple gun, and a new fitted sheet we have been able to patch the hole and move on with our lives.  No, she was not in there at the time.
I will hypnotize you with my adorable eyes.
Now let me sleep in your board game box!

For some reason it looks to me like the food on the bottom of the picture is floating over a white abyss of nothingness.  Just me?  Anyway...
The most disappointing part of this meal was definitely the Couve a Mineira.  There was potential, but making it first hurt.  By the time dinner was on the table it was cold and very limp.  Reheating it didn't do much.  It wouldn't get back to the old consistency and smell.  I plan to try this again the next time I have some leftover kale, but time it correctly.

The rice was good, and I would be willing to use this basic technique again.  I am most excited about cooking the rice in chicken broth.  It seems like such a simple concept, but I'm pretty sure that is what pushed this dish over the edge.  We have a lot of extra, so I suspect we will be using this rice in some of our upcoming meals as well.

Then there is the part that everyone is waiting for.  There are people waiting, right?  I believe Kevin summed it up with "You can't go wrong with this much meat."  It really was quite good.  There were a lot of different flavors in there, and every bite was unique.  If I were to make this again, I would not include all of the fat from the ham hock.  My only real issue with the dish was how heavy and salted it felt at times, and I think those chunks of fat made the biggest difference.  I also would have put in less salt to season.  This is what happens when you give in to your husband and his never-ending quest for sodium.

In the end, Brazil definitely gets a thumbs up.  Having a suggestion and store to go to greatly helped, and I learned a lot.  I am getting better at noticing issues early (like what to do with the fat) and making executive decisions (taking the foot out before serving).

Did the foot make a difference?  No idea.  Perhaps we will never know.  But there are more sitting in my freezer, waiting to be called out of hiding...

Next time: Brunei

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