Brazilian Home Cooking

Brazilian Home Cooking

Baião de Dois| Yield: 4-6 servings

(Brazilian Rice with Black-Eyed Peas,Beef and Cheese)

This is a hearty dish from the northeast of Brazil, consisting of rice, black-eyed peas (or feijão de corda), bacon, carne seca and cheese. It is a meal in itself, and while no accompaniments are necessary, it goes great with a side green salad, vinaigrette (Brazilian salsa) and fried yuca.

For The Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed

1 tbsp clarified butter or ghee

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp ground turmeric

1¾ cups hot water

1 bay leaf

For The Baião De Dois

3 tbsp  clarified butter or ghee, divided

4 oz slab bacon, diced

1 large red onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup shredded carne seca or corned beef (desalt it)

1 (14-oz) can black-eyed peas, drained

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, as desired

½ cup low-sodium beef broth

5 oz grilling cheese such as queijo coalho or halloumi, ¼”  thick

¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro

To make the rice, place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Reserve. Heat the clarified butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the rice and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it starts clumping together. Stir in the salt and turmeric, and then pour in the hot water. Give it a good mix, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and crack the lid open slightly. Let it rest for 20 minutes, remove the bay leaf and then fluff the rice with a fork. Reserve.

To make the baião de dois, in a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp. of the clarified butter. Once melted, add the bacon and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until beginning to turn golden. Stir in the red onion and sauté for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute so it releases its aroma. Add the carne seca, stirring to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it begins to crisp up. Stir in the black-eyed peas, the cooked rice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a good stir, and then pour in the beef broth. Cover, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.

Heat the remaining clarified butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced cheese in a single layer and allow it to cook for 2 minutes, without disturbing. Once the bottoms are golden brown, flip and cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the slices get nicely golden. Remove to a cutting board and cut into cubes, reserving a few to use as a garnish. Stir the remaining into the baião de dois, along with the parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish with the reserved cheese and serve immediately.

NOTES Cooked corned beef can be used instead. If using corned beef, I recommend not only shredding but also chopping it so the strands are not too long. 

Reprinted with permission from Authentic Brazilian Home Cooking by Olivia Mesquita. Page Street  Publishing Co. 2023.  Photo credit: Olivia Mesquita.