Brazilian Culture Night

One of my very favorite things about being a mom is helping my kids grow a love and appreciate for other cultures. With the Olympics held in Rio just a few days away we figured now would be a great time to introduce them to Brazilian culture!

We loaded up on books about Brazil from the children’s section of the library, found a recipe for feijoada, headed to the local Latin markets for ingredients, cooked up a giant batch of the classic black beans and rice dish, invited our Brazilian friends the Pessoa’s over, blared some Samba music, drank guarana, and stuffed our faces.

It was so much fun!


We love the Pessoas. Nando who is originally from Rio was actually planning on volunteering as a dentist at the Olympics, but he didn’t get the itinerary in time to book tickets.


Pao de Queijo are those amazing cheese rolls and the bake-your-own variety  are actually available at Costco and Harmon’s. They are so addictive! We found the Guarana soda at La Pequenita on State Street Downtown. It’s a teeny tiny little Latin market with a decent selection of some Brazilian items.


This is the recipe I used for the feijoada.It turned out great–my Brazilian friends just said it needed about five times as much salt. Apparently they like their food very salty in Brazil. (: I bought all the meat at El Rancho. You could simplify this recipe and just add a ham hock and some sausage or bacon. It  might not be quite as authentic but it would still be delicious!




Feijoada (Brazilian Black Beans)
Yield 8 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound choriço sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 pound carne seca or other salted cured beef, soaked overnight and cubed (
1 pound baby back spareribs, cut into individual ribs
1 pound black beans
10 cups water
4 cups collared or kale greens, sauteed in olive oil
4 cups cooked white rice
Brazilian hot sauce

Garnish: 1 orange, halved and cut into thin slices, and Farofa


In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Crush the bay leaves and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the sausage. Continue to cook for 4 minutes. Add the cubed beef, ribs, beans and water. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Adding water as necessary to keep the beans covered. Using the back of a ladle, mash 1/4 of the beans. Reseason with salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, spoon some of the greens and rice onto each serving plate. Spoon the Feijoada over the rice. Shake some of the hot sauce over the entire plate. Garnish with the orange slices and farofa.

Next time I make this I’ll probably just use a ham hock and some sausage. It would be just as good. Also, Carne Seca is impossible to find in Utah.

And if you’d rather skip cooking all together, Tushar in South Jordan and Sweet Spot in Sandy are both great, inexpensive, kid-friendly Brazilian restaurants!

Have fun and happy Olympics!



Brazilian Culture Night

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