My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook
I first met Leticia Moreinos Schwartz at a seminar at the International Culinary Center. Perched in the front row with a well-prepared list of questions and samples for the class, she would have been intimidating if she wasn’t so incredibly nice. We’ve stayed in touch since and she’s always quick to answer my questions and offer much needed guidance and advice. Her first book, The Brazilian Kitchen, is full of unfailing recipes and her personal insight into Brazilian cuisine and has become a favorite. Less familiar to me than other Latin American traditions, Brazilian food has been a blind spot though I’m always happy when I make the effort. Her latest, My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook, tells an even more personal story of both the carioca home cooking she grew up with and the contemporary Brazilian cuisine she encounters on frequent trips home.
I was in Miami but looking ahead to the cold months ahead of me in Brooklyn when I settled on the sopa de feijão com salsicha - a take on the classic feijoida she also writes about. Back in New York, I made it again for friends on New Year’s Eve to start the new year. I had planned on writing about it before the holidays as a possible gift idea when unexpected deadlines kept interrupting. Now that I’ve spent a little time with it, I still think it would be great gift but think you’ll probably want to keep it for yourself.
Sopa de Feijão com Salsicha/Black Bean and Sausage Soup
Reprinted with permission from Leticia Moreinos Schwartz’s My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook (Kyle Books, 2013).
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
8 ounces linguiça sausage or chorizo
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ onion, finely chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1½ cups chicken stock
1½ cups cooked black beans or one 15-ounce can black beans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Remove the linguiça from the cases and add it in chunks to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook the linguiça until it is just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the linguiça to a bowl and cover to keep moist.
Using the same pan and adding a little more oil if necessary, add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, then add the onion and scallions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and oregano, reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking until all the ingredients are softened, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the stock, increase the heat, and bring to a boil. Add the beans, linguiça, and any juices that have accumulated in the bowl and bring to a boil again; immediately reduce the heat to a simmer, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Partially cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes to melt the flavors. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.