Brazilian burger recipe

BH&T Brazil Burger RecipeFeijoada Burger with Plantain Cake
And now we have arrived at Brazil!  The B’s sure are keeping us busy hoping from one end of the world to the next.  Brazil is the first country for which I didn’t feel like I needed to do a ton of research.  When I was an undergrad I took 3 semesters of Portuguese from a Brazilian native.  She was terrific and taught us not only the language basics (most of which I have now forgotten), but also something about Brazilian culture.  We even had a traditional Brazilian dinner at the end of our third semester, so I was ready for this one.  Let’s crank up the Milton Nascimento, mix up a caipirinha (or two) and let’s get cooking!  Oh, yeah, before we start, The Federative Republic of Brazil is a giant country in South America (fifth largest country in the world), bordered by lots of Atlantic Ocean, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and French Guiana.

courtesy of CIA World Factbook

They speak Portuguese in Brazil, but the pronunciation is very different from continental Portuguese – it sounds more like Spanish to my ear, but trust me on this, if you try speaking Spanish to fake it in Brazil, the Brazilians will definitely call you on it.  They are proud of their language and don’t appreciate people acting like it’s the same as Spanish.

One note, as a good friend recently found out, if you want to visit Brazil you need to get a visa – check the consulate website, you have to go in-person for an interview, if you don’t have a visa, they’ll turn you back at the airport!  Luckily, we can explore their food without leaving the comfort of our neighborhoods.

Brazilians have had an economic boom lately but for a long time there was a great deal of poverty in Brazil.  Because of this Brazilians became adept at using inexpensive meats and cooking them in ways that made them delicious and stretched them to feed more.  A lot of traditional cooking involves marinating for long periods of time and/or cooking at low temps for long periods of time.  The unofficial dish of Brazil is feijoada.  Feijoada is simply beans cooked with meats for a long time until the flavors meld and the whole thing becomes a yummy meaty/beany wonder.  I’ve used dried beans for this recipe because they hold up to the long cooking times.  You can substitute canned beans, but the end result will probably be a bit mushy.  You can also substitute chorizo for the linguica – we tried both and the linguica had a bit more flavor, a smoky spiciness that we thought would work well in the feijoada, but I realize not everyone has linguica in their local grocery store.  (New England is home to many Portuguese and their descendents, so we get great Portuguese ingredients in our local supermarkets).

To get the right flavors here, you just need to take time, lots of time.  There’s nothing difficult in the preparation of this burger, but you will need 3 hours for soaking the beans and 3 hours for cooking the feijoada – you will be rewarded with your house filling with the scents of spice and beef and general yumminess.  This is not a vegetarian friendly dish, but you could just cook some black beans with onion, bay leaf and a little vinegar and it would be ok on a veggie burger, but not nearly as good as the real thing with meat (sorry veg friends).

This isn’t spicy, just rich and delicious.  Brazilians like to serve oranges with feijoada, I tried that and didn’t love it, so I made a mayonnaise with fresh orange juice that complemented the burger perfectly.  We, of course, served our burgers  with a mid-priced Argentinian Malbec, a great combo.  And, before I forget, my dad hates beans, so I made him an X-Tudo burger.  This is apparently the big burger in Brazil, it’s so much like the Australian Burger with the Lot, that I didn’t feel like it warranted a recipe – it’s basically beef patty, lettuce, tomato, roasted corn, ketchup, mayo, cheese, fried egg and shoestring fries – my dad loved it!  Something for everyone in Brazil, cheers!

BH&T Brazil X-Tudo burger

Brazilian Burger
1 pound ground beef
Linguica from the feijoada with casings removed
Feijoada (recipe below)
Plantain Cakes (recipe below)
Orange Mayo (recipe below)

Mix ground beef and linguica together then form four patties.  Cook to desired temperature.  Serve patties on Plantain Cakes with Feijoada and Orange Mayo

1 cup dried black beans
6 cups water
4 ounces slab bacon cubed
6 ounces linguica sausage sliced
1 small Vidalia onion diced (about 2 cups)
2 beef ribs (10 ounces)
3 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Rinse beans and place in a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat and cover.  Let beans sit for 3 hours.  Drain and rinse the beans.  In a large pot, brown the bacon over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the fat is rendered.  Add the sausage and brown for about 3 minutes turning to get even browning.

BH&T Brazil Feijoada in process1Add the onions and ribs cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add the drained beans, 3 cups of water and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.  Add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for another hour until the beans are soft and the meat is fork tender.  Add water if necessary as the feijoada cooks.

BH&T Brazil Feijoada in process2

Remove the ribs from the feijoada and discard.  Remove the sausage and use in the burger patties.  Serve feijoada with a slotted spoon so that you don’t get too much liquid on your burger.  Serve hot – this can be made a day ahead of time and reheated before using.

BH&T Brazil Feijoada

Plantain Cakes
2 green plantains
Kosher salt
Peanut oil

Peel and slice the plantains.  Place in a food processor with a pinch or two of salt.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.  In a large non-stick pan, heat enough peanut oil to cover bottom of pan with about ¼ inch of oil.  Heat oil until shimmering.  Form four cakes from the plantains and using a spatula, slowly add the cakes to the hot oil.  Fry cakes until golden, then turn and cook other side (about 2-3 minutes per side).  Place cooked cakes on paper towel to drain oil before serving.

BH&T Brazil Plantain Cakes

Orange Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
juice from ½ of a large orange
¼ teaspoon chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder, but regular chili powder is good too)

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach

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12 Responses to Brazilian burger recipe

  1. Pingback: Portugese Cooking Recipe

  2. Snozberries says:

    Oh how I love plantains!

  3. Snozberries says:

    I’m extremely jealous that you have managed to get Mom, let alone Dad to eat half of what you make.

    • linda says:

      Mom is pretty willing to try everything, Dad sometimes needs coercing. But he’s getting lots of burgers, so he’s fairly happy.

  4. Janet says:

    I assumed for Brazil you’d go with the X-tudo, or some variation thereof, and be done with it. I’ve seen versions with bananas as well as the corn, fries, egg, etc. You’re making it too hard for yourself, and all of us, with what’s getting to be your own formulaic gourmet burger algorithm that sometimes has nothing to do with how burgers actually are in that country. Sorry for the criticism, but keep that in mind next time you run into somewhere like Brazil or Australia that already has its own, lowbrow burger.

    • linda says:

      Thanks for your comments Janet. I did make the X-tudo and gave the ingredients so that if anyone wants to go that route they can. I will definitely make sure to point out along the way how burgers are served in the countries. I don’t mean to make things hard on everyone, so sorry to annoy you with my Brazilian burger. In my defense, I love feijoada and really wanted a good excuse to whip up a batch and share with my family. And, the goal of my blog/cookbook isn’t to identify how people eat burgers around the world (especially since the answer is, “they don’t” for many countries), the goal is to use the burger form as the backdrop for introducing flavors that are traditional in each country. I hope you like Burkina Faso better and stay tuned for Burundi

  5. jm says:

    I’ll offer a dissenting opinion from Janet. I LOVE the creativity, learning about the geography, the different local ingredients, the experiments. I would be happy to try the X-tudo and the Burger with the Lot (and really enjoyed the Aussies chiming in about that burger), and also have enjoyed trying these creative, tasty recipes that riff on the burger. (Also, the wine recommendations have been excellent!) Keep going! Keep going! I can’t wait for Ireland and Ethiopia. 🙂

    • linda says:

      Thanks Jeanne Marie! As a wise woman told me when I started, don’t take any of the comments personally, just be happy people are reading and care enough to comment 🙂 I will do my best to continue to offer both the burger of the country and my own burger creation. Thanks for continuing to follow.

      btw – I agree about the Aussies, that was a great back and forth – who knew pineapple was so controversial? 🙂

  6. Rick T says:

    I enjoyed this one. I hadn’t thought I would because I was iffy about the plantain, which is never one of my favorites, but fried crisp like this, I thought that a food I would never pick as a main flavor did surprising well in a supporting role. In general, I suppose I like the heartier, earthier recipes better, and this certainly qualifies for that. And I guess I’m a born sucker for meat and beans looked long and slow together.

    But I gotta say Linda, two beef ribs = 10 oz? Tiny cows out your way. Needless to say, I went with the “2 ribs” and not the “10 oz” for a really beefy mix! Anyway, yummy and filling, I thought.

    Nonetheless, I’ve got no doubt at all that Janet’s right, and that no one in Brazil would ever eat a burger this way. And I’ve done a few of these by now, so I understand what she means about the algorithm. (Actually, I can see the same logic being applied to a “USA” burger, and yielding a a slice of meatloaf on a bed of mac and cheese, topped with pizza sauce.) But I still have to come down on the side of trying to go for national flavors with the “burger” aspect being secondary. Otherwise, how many countries would have a Big Mac for the national burger?

    • linda says:

      I am also a born sucker for meat and beans cooked low and slow, so glad you enjoyed this one. I guess the cows are skinny around here, I weighed out the ribs and everything – well, my thought on that is “more is better”, I see you feel the same way 🙂

      Janet is undoubtably correct and that is why I gave the directions for the standard burger of Brazil. But as you suspect, so far most countries, if you gave a standard burger, it would be McDonalds or a basic meat patty with cheese, tomato, lettuce onion and a tomato based sauce (generally very much like ketchup). I’m thinking that would make a boring blog and an even less inspiring cook book.

      I will say that I try to vary the “algorithm” as much as possible, sometimes focusing on the bread, sometimes the meat and other times the toppings. Africa has been particularly difficult to ensure variety with some level of authenticity. Hopefully I am succeeding. I’m working on Chad right now and longing to just make a Big Mac!

      • linda says:

        oh, and one other thought – I think your comment about what the US version would be like using my process is hilarious. I will remind you that this is a country where you can actually get a burger patty served between two grilled cheese sandwiches, so is a meatloaf burger served on mac n cheese really all that far fetched? lol

        I personally prefer sandwich style burgers – sounds like many of you do too – I’ll do my best to make more of those (if I could just get to some countries that eat bread, that would be helpful) 🙂

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