Food 2008 – Recipes (Xinxim de Galinha, Feijão Vegetariano, Arroz and Couve à Moda de Minas Gerais)

Sunday, 11th February 2008 – Recipes (Xinxim de Galinha, Feijão Vegetariano, Arroz and Couve à Moda de Minas Gerais)

Well, it was quite a weekend… and I’ve come back to work for a rest yet again. It’s Lynne’s 50th birthday this week, so we threw a party on Saturday. That meant a fair amount of running around getting food ready last week, especially as I’d decided to go with a Brazilian theme menu-wise. This wouldn’t have been too nerve-racking if it hadn’t have been for Andrew and Alberina (who owned and ran a mighty fine Brazilian restaurant in London prior to retirement a couple of years back) accepting their invitation… So, no pressure, eh?

Anyway, after a week of preparation work producing Cabrito, Vatapà, Xinxim de Galinha, Feijão Vegetariano, kale and fried rice, to say nothing of the dreaded (and exceedingly sticky) brigadeiros, party day dawned bright and sunny. An earlyish trip to Waitrose armed us with more food – canape type nibbles mostly (mini three cheese pizzas, seafood tartlets, Indian and Chinese snacks, and fancy little vol-au-vents), along with cheeses, pates, oatcakes, fruit, celery, baguettes, garlic bread, sponge cake, mango tart, cheese straws and sun-dried tomato biscuits. No-one was likely to go hungry, let’s put it that way. The wine order arrived on Friday, and all that remained were to make caipirinhas as welcome drinks for the guests, and get the last of the food ready. For once I managed to get into the shower good and early and was ready when Andrea arrived at our door bearing three spare slow cookers, which I was planning to use to keep the food hot. By around 6 most people had arrived and been fed caipirinhas, which were strong enough to take your knees out from under you. I certainly don’t recall everything too clearly, but I think everyone had a very good time, with people coming and going all evening, and the last of the guests finally departing around 2am. As now always seems to happen, we seem to have more drink after than we had when we started – especially the Champagne. I don’t now how it happens, but it does… I’m not knocking it, but it would be useful to know so we can make sure it keeps happening!

The recipes are here. Needless to say, I made these in industrial portions, but the following supposedly serve 4-6. Also, the garlic quantities are the bare minimum, at least to my way of thinking.

Xinxim de Galinha (Chicken Stew with Nuts and Dendê Oil)

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • ½ bunch mint, chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2¼ lbs chicken, cut into pieces
  • 5 tablespoons dendê (palm) oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh root ginger
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 5 oz cashew nuts, chopped
  • 5 oz peanuts, chopped
  • 5½ oz dried shrimp, minced

Note: Olive oil can be used instead of palm oil, though the colour of the dish will change. Also, dried shrimp can be got from Chinese supermarkets, or you can make you own. Take 1lb of shrimp and very slowly dry it in a low temperature oven (around 120ºC) for about 1-1½ hours.

Method:

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinade for at least 2 hours.
  2. In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the chicken until yellow-brown (or brown if you can’t get the palm oil).
  3. Add the marinade, ginger, salt and pepper, and a little water.
  4. Cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  5. When the chicken is cooked, add the nuts, minced shrimp and the rest of the oil.
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes or more till the chicken is tender.
  7. Serve with white rice and roasted cassava flour (if available).

Feijão Vegetariano (Vegetarian Beans)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons corn oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 oz black beans, soaked overnight
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons parsley
  • 4 fl oz red wine

Method:

  1. Heat the oil and fry the onions and garlic until slightly browned.
  2. Drain the beans and fry them with the onions and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover with water, add salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetables, herbs, wine, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook for at least 25 minutes more until everything is tender.

Arroz

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz rice
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or corn oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Wash the rice and drain.
  2. Pour enough oil into a saucepan to cover the base, add the shallot and the garlic and fry till golden.
  3. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon to coat the grains.
  4. Measure twice as much hot water as rice and add to the pan with a pinch of salt.
  5. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and partially cover the pan.
  6. When the water has evaporated below the level of the rice, remove the lid.
  7. With a chopstick, make 4 or 5 holes in the rice to allow the water to evaporate completely.
  8. Keep an eye on the rice from now on to make sure it does not burn.
  9. When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it settle for 20 minutes.
  10. Just before serving, fluff the rice up with a fork.

Couve à Moda de Minas Gerais (Kale Minas Gerais Style)

Ingredients:

  • 1½ lb kale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Method:

  1. Wash the kale. Cut out the tough stalks and discard.
  2. Take 5-6 leaves at a time and roll them up tightly like a cigar.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, slice the kale as thin as possible.
  4. Heat the oil to medium heat, and fry the shallots and garlic.
  5. Add the kale and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

Sunday I was awake early and down clearing the kitchen by 8 am – though my brain felt like it was trying to get out of the back of my skull. By 9.30 am most of the pots, glasses and debris were gone, and then it was down to trying to cage and corral the leftovers into various containers, and then into the freezer. And it looks like we’ll be eating Brazilian food for weeks to come… There seemed to be more food than we’d started with too… After that I collapsed in a heap on the sofa and waited for the hangover to go away!

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