What’s even better than watching the Brazilians here in Astoria dress up in green and yellow on the days of Brazil’s World Cup games? Feijoada completa. This tag-team of a meal consists of a stew of black beans, on-the-bone pork, pork belly, and smoked pork sausage; farofa (manoic flour mixed with bits of bacon, in case you didn’t get enough pork in the stew); white rice; collard greens; and an orange slice.
It is Brazil’s national dish, a status that may have no concrete meaning for the non-Brazilian until said non-Brazilian shows up at a Brazilian restaurant on Saturday night (Saturdays customarily being the only day most restaurants serve it) for a taste of feijoada completa and finds out that all the Brazilians in the neighborhood beat him to it hours ago by eating every last portion of it for lunch. Which means the dish is gone for another week.
I caught up with a serving of feijoada completa at Malagueta last weekend. For lunch, of course (I learned my lesson). I found it difficult to find this massive and varied dish in want of anything – it has the word ‘complete’ in its name, after all. But chef/owner Herbert Gomes added a few notable touches when he spiced the black bean stew liberally with bay leaves and fried the garlic slices to a golden-brown crispness before mixing with the collards. The only thing I had to add was a glass of red. And an afternoon nap.