Belly Pork and black beans-Entremeada e feijao preto

Back in January,when I checked myself in for larder re-hab and depantrification - I missed a tin of black beans that was sitting at the back of the shelf.What ever possessed me to buy them? I have never cooked with black beans or ever intended to, but must have at one point had a spontaneous intention to cook a Feijoada in the Brazilian style, which uses black beans as opposed to the Portuguese version, which uses pinto or butter beans.I am never convinced whether the conquistadores taught the pig and bean thing to the natives or vice versa, but surely the Brazilians and the Iberians are top of the world league when it comes to pig and beans in a pot. I am not a great fan of the former version, but I needed to be thrifty quickly and use up this commodity before it expired. I decided to improvise and came up with a pan-asian meets Iberican belly pork, braised in a garlic and black bean sauce.
The black beans from Asia are soybeans, which are  fermented and preserved in salt.Also known as Chinese black beans  or salted black beans, they have a very strong, salty flavor and are generally soaked for a half hour or so in fresh water before being added to a dish.My tin of beans was the type of black beans particularly popular in Brazil, Spain and Portugal  (frijol negro in Spanish, feijao preto in Portuguese), or Mexican black bean or turtle bean. Their flavour is stronger and fuller, bearing undertones of meat or mushrooms.So taking a recipe from the orient I replicated the saltiness of the recipe by the seasoning of the meat as opposed to the beans.Well I thought; living at the far eastern end of the Algarve, this could become a dish from the Portuguese Orient:

Belly pork from the "orient" 
braised in a garlic and black bean sauce
( entremeada "orientale"guisada em molho feijaoem molho feijao preto e alho)

Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Serves 2 as a main plate or 4 as part of a multi-dish meal

1 kg (2 pounds) entremeada( belly pork), cut into strips about 1½ inches wide and seasoned with flor de sal
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 green chillies,deseeded and cut into thin strips

1 stick of lemongrass,finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2 large spring onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Flor de sal
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon dark (thick) soy sauce
3 tablespoons madeira wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 410g tin black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped coentros (coriander)

Prepare the garlic, ginger,lemongrass, spring onion and chillies on a plate. For the seasoning liquid, stir together the salt, sugar, dark soy sauce, Madeira and water.
Heat a wok, heavy pot or deep skillet over high heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the garlic, ginger and green onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir in the pork and black beans. Continue cooking until the pork turns white and is coated with the other ingredients, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the seasoning liquid,and bring to the boil.
Transfer the contents of the wok to a large casserole,  cover, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook until the pork is chewy-tender, about 1 hour, stirring 2 to 3 times. The dish can be made up to this point and then refrigerated overnight before continuing.
Skim most of the fat from the sauce (the fat will be easy to remove if the pork has been refrigerated and the fat is solidified; if not refrigerated, temporarily transfer the pork to a bowl to make skimming the fat easier).
Heat the pork and sauce over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a vigorous simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced and thickened enough to coat the pork, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the coriander  and transfer to a serving plate or shallow bowl. Served with rice or Chinese colcannon
Chinese Colcannon (serves 4)
  • 3-4 good sized potatoes, peeled
  • a small bundle of chinese cabbage, washed and shredded, stalks and all
  • 2-3 spring onions (scallions)
  • 1 small leek thinly sliced
  • 3 rashers of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic purée
  • Half a cup of good full fat milk / cream if you're feeling decadent
  • 150gms of butter
  • chinese five spice
Slice the peeled potatoes into 1.5 cm thick rounds and put in a pan with cold water.  Bring to the boil for about 5-8  minutes.  Check to see if they're done, by sliding a knife into the centre.

Meanwhile, shred your cabbage and spring onions finely and fry the bacon till it's crispy.  When you have fried the bacon, keep the fat and add the cabbage and spring onions,season with chinese five spice and fry gently for one to two minutes until it's wilted.

When the potatoes are done, add the butter and milk / cream.  Mash well or put through a ricer and mix the cream and butter through until the mash is smooth.

Crumble the bacon and add it to the mash with the roasted garlic purée, cabbage and spring onions.  Mix well.  Taste and season to your liking.


  1. This is not fair . . . I am reading this late at night . . . I've had supper and now I am hungry again!


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