Brazilian Style Black Beans and Rice

 

Many of you know both my husband and I spent about 2 years of our lives living in Brazil when we were in our twenties.   We didn’t meet until we were both back in the states attending college at BYU, but that was definitely something that we loved having in common from the very start.  I spent most of my time in southern Brazil (Curitiba, to be exact) but afterwards traveled to just about every corner of that beautiful country.  Brazil and its different states are just as unique as those here in the United States.  When it comes to food, each region has different specialties and customary dishes, but one thing you will eat no matter where you go, is arroz e feijão, aka Rice and Beans. 

Brazilian Black Beans Recipe

And just like you’ll find very different BBQ depending on where you travel in the US, you’ll find varying types of rice and beans in Brazil.  But it’s something that most of the population eats every day, and I loved it.  Where I lived in the south, black beans reign supreme, and the method of cooking them that I’m going to share with you today is how the local people would prepare them day in and day out.  The beauty in this dish is the simplicity.  It’s not a complicated thing; in fact you won’t see any seasonings except for salt and pepper.  The flavor comes from these three things: bacon, garlic, and onion.

Black Beans

The other thing that is standard in every Brazilian kitchen is a pressure cooker. Every household has one.  I did a whole post about pressure cooking, here.  Check it out and see what a great addition a pressure cooker is to your kitchen!  I have both a stove-top pressure cooker and an electric pressure cooker, and I use my electric one more these days because I like being able to walk away, whereas I feel I have to babysit the stovetop one.  But I’ve linked great options for both in my post, here.  If you don’t have a pressure cooker, check out my recipe for Quick and Easy Black Beans; it’s a twist on these traditional beans, using canned beans.  Just as the name implies, they are so quick and easy!  We also have a great slowcooker recipe, which you can find, here.

When it comes to using dry beans, most people like to soak them overnight because it cuts down on cooking time.  Soaked beans will cook in a pressure cooker in about 10 minutes or so.  The only problem with that is that I generally don’t think that far ahead.  I’ve written this recipe for dry beans, straight out of the bag, because that’s how I make them the most often.  I also like a thicker “sauce” on my beans, and using dry beans in a pressure cooker causes more splitting of the beans so it naturally thickens and I like that.  Using dry beans, this will still be on the table in about an hour.

You’ll want to really carefully go through your beans and remove any impurities.  It’s not uncommon to have little shrived beans and even tiny pebbles sometimes.  You’ll also want to rinse them well.

Black Beans

One note about my method here- traditionally (at least from every single person that made beans and rice for me) Brazilians cook their beans in water in the pressure cooker and while they’re cooking, they saute the bacon, garlic and onion in a separate pan.  When the beans are done, they ladle in a few spoonful into the bacon pan and let it simmer away absorbing flavors, while lightly smashing the beans to thicken the mixture.  That entire mixture is then poured back into the bean pot where they finish seasoning and let everything cook up together. 

I combine those steps and just start everything in my pressure cooker and cook it all together.  Saves dirtying a pan and they always come out great, so I’m going with my rebel methods.

On that note- heat up your pressure cooker to saute and cook a few slices of bacon.  

sizzling bacon

The bacon adds a smoky, meaty flavor and the rendered bacon fat is what we’ll use to cook the onion and garlic.  Now let’s have a moment of silence to imagine onion and garlic sauteing in bacon grease.  If anyone can create a candle with that smell I’ll buy it.

Brazilian Black Beans Recipe

After that has cooked for a few minutes you’ll add your beans, salt and pepper, and the cooking liquid.  Now, in Brazil they generally use water, but I like to use broth because I feel like it enhances the flavor really nicely.  I call for vegetable broth here, but you could use chicken or even beef as well.  I cook them for 40 minutes on high pressure and then immediately let out the steam after that. 

Brazilian Black Beans Recipe

This is a rather thick ratio when it comes to black beans, but that’s how I prefer it.  If you’d like your beans “soupier” you can certainly add more liquid after they are done, or cook them with more liquid to start. 

Brazilian Black Beans Recipe

I’m going to share my Brazilian Rice recipe on Friday, so if you’re interested, keep your eye out for that one!   This south American staple has become a staple in my own home and it’s now something my kids love eating as well. And although these are Brazilian black beans, they obviously go very well with other Latin dishes like burritos, fajitas, Southwest salads, etc. 

If you want to turn this into a full meal, just pair it with some grilled chicken, beef, or fish.  Or one of my favorites is Linguica sausage, which is eaten often in Brazil. 

Linguica

Easiest of all however, is one of my favorite comfort foods: rice and beans topped with a runny fried egg.  That might sound strange but trust me, heaven in a bowl.

Brazilian Black Beans Recipe

If you’re interested in more Brazilian food, you can check out a few other recipes, here!

 

Also, find a beans and rice version with canned beans, here, and with a slow cooker, here.

Brazilan Style Black Beans in Pressure Cooker
An easy recipe for black beans cooked in a pressure cooker. No soaking required! Can be served the traditional way over rice, or used for Latin dishes like burritos, fajitas, and salads.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound dry black beans
  2. 4 slices bacon (I like center cut bacon)
  3. 1 small-medium onion, diced
  4. 5-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  5. 4 cups vegetable broth (can use chicken or beef, or even water instead)
  6. 1 cup water (more if desired, for "soupier" beans)
  7. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  9. cooked white rice for serving (my Brazilian rice recipe will be live on Friday!)
Instructions
  1. Place beans in a fine mesh strainer and pick out any shriveled ones, along with any impurities.
  2. Heat pressure cooker to medium-high heat (sauté setting for electric pressure cooker, medium heat on stove top for regular pressure cooker). While pot is heating, cut bacon into about 1/2-inch pieces. Cook bacon until lightly browned and starting to crisp. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add beans, broth and water, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and secure lid. Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, and then release steam from pot. If desired, lightly smash some beans on the side of the pot (this will thicken them), season with additional salt and pepper if desired, and let cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve over white rice.
Notes
  1. Brazilian beans are typically served over rice. Add protein by pairing it with grilled steak or chicken, or tossing a fried egg on top (my favorite!).
  2. This recipe yields about 6 cups beans.
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47 comments

  1. My husband served in Manaus and already tells me I have the heart of a Brazilian when i make your quick and easy black beans. So, he’s really gonna love me if I buy a pressure cooker and make him this recipe. Hahaha!

  2. Ah, owing to the influence of Portuguese peeps in our UK ward, my husband makes feijoada at least once a week now! Lovin’ the black beans- simple, nutritious and delicious! How about pasteis de nata for dessert?

  3. Your other black beans recipe is my go-to for company meals 😉 But this one sounds good too, except now I’m hungry and I’m doing the Dietbet…

  4. Yum! We always eat a bunch of foods from the host country every year during the Olympics, so this is definitely going on my list for this summer!

  5. Beans and rice with an egg on top is a weekly staple in our house. But I usually do canned beans so I can’t wait to try this is in my instant pot!

  6. [email protected] says:

    I love this idea, but don’t have a pressure cooker. Would this work in a crockpot?

    1. You bet. Follow this recipe here, and if you like, you can just saute the bacon, garlic and onion like I did first, and then add everything to the crock pot.

      http://ourbestbites.com/2014/05/slow-cooker-black-beans/

  7. I am so making this on Friday when you post your Brazilian rice recipe!! This meal is right up my alley and I cannot wait to dig in!!! Looks delicious! Thank you!!

  8. My husband served in Curitiba too! I need to make this one day soon and surprise him with this and pao de quiejo. He’d be on cloud nine! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Drat! Unfortunately, I don’t own a pressure cooker. These do sound so good. While in San Juan, PR we had amazing beans and rice. This sounds equally as delicious!

  10. I made this this afternoon thinking they would be good to bring to a friend who just had a baby. I am not much of a bean eater, but she is. HAHAHAHA I couldn’t stop eating them! Had to make a second batch. Count me as a bean convert thanks to this recipe.

    1. Haha! That makes my day! Glad you enjoyed them!

  11. My husband served in Maceio and so we are a rice and beans loving family too! He is always on the hunt for the right sausage and would die to get his hands on some somewhat authentic linguica. Where did you buy yours? Thanks for all your awesome recipes! We cook OBB food all the time!

    1. I just by that at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger)!

      1. Sweet! I had the same question. I constantly buy different kinds of linguisa trying to find the “right kind” for my hubby who also served in Curitiba!

  12. Love this recipe but also loving those bowls!!! Where did you find them? They are fantastic and totally festive!

    1. Brought those back from a vacation to Mexico! When I travel, I bring home a dish or two- I like buying things I’ll actually use 🙂

  13. My husband served in Curitiba as well! He’s actually there right now on business. He gets so excited to go down there-because of the food! I make your black bean recipe from your cookbook once a week. No lie. We actually make all of your Brazilian recipes quite often. I”ll have to try these. I love my pressure cooker! Thank you for your awesome recipes!

  14. Do have a good resource for Farinha de Mandioca? My husband wants me to make him some farofa in the worst way. For his birthday I make him black beans, rice, Pão de Queijo, Coxinha de Frango, and something involving sweetened condensed milk for dessert. One year I even ordered Maracujá from Florida (we live in washington) so I could make him some juice. The biggest thing missing is still the farofa.

    1. Hey Danielle! To make Farofa, you need to find Manioc Flour. I’ve found it in good Latin markets, or I’m sure you could find it online somewhere. If you have that, I just cook up a few slices of chopped bacon and add diced onion and garlic and then stir in the manioc to toast it. At the end you can toss in a handful of parsley and season with salt and pepper. Basic but delicious!

  15. We visited Brazil many years ago and have since loved black beans and rice! I’m so excited to try your recipe!

    Do you happen to know what those yummy roots are that they often fry? We had them almost every where we went. We also had this amazing potatoes and tomatoes bake, would you have a recipe for that our know what it was called? I have looked for recipes but nothing American is right.

    1. Hi Laura! The fried root you’re looking for is Mandioca, or Yucca in English. If you can actually find the Yucca anywhere, you just fry it up! As for the potato and tomatoes, I’m not sure on that one!

  16. I love black beans and can’t wait to make this recipe. As an aside, can you tell me where you got that strainer? I have to get one like that!

    1. I’m not sure- probably just Target or Walmart!

  17. Made these tonight and they were delicious! Marcelo said he felt like he was back in Brazil. And three out of four kids loved them, so that’s a major win. 🙂

    1. So glad you loved them!

  18. Hi.I don’t eat bacon(yeah, I’m weird that way)and was wondering if there is anything else I could use in it’s place.
    And I just wanted to say that I loooove your blog and the recipes are just spot on.
    Love,from another part of the world.

    1. You bet! Diced smoked ham would work great, or you can even toss a ham hock in there to cook with everything. Hope that helps!

      1. Oops.. I should’ve specified that its All pork products that I don’t eat;not just bacon.Thanks for the tip anyways.

        1. Ha, well than I’m not much help, sorry! You could just leave out the bacon and use some oil to saute onions and garlic 🙂

    1. I suppose it would work with pinto beans; I’m partial to black so I’ve never tried it with pinto, but I’m pretty sure they cook the same so go ahead and try it out!

  19. I must be missing something, when do you add the water? I made it once and added water with the broth and the beans came tasty but the liquid was thin. L
    Thanks!

    1. That’s correct, it’s added with the broth. If you’d like the mixture thicker, just smash more of the beans and let them simmer uncovered for a bit.

    1. Right along with the broth

  20. These are seriously the best black beans I have ever tasted. In my life. And let me qualify that by saying I live in Tampa (lots of Cuban food), and have lived in South Florida (lots of restaurants from all over Latin America), so I have tasted my share of wonderful black beans. These are just the best. Thanks for sharing!

  21. So yummy! The flavor was great, Except my bacon pretty much turned to mush. Is that just going to happen in a pressure cooker or is there anyway to prevent that?

    1. Yes, that just happens when you cook meat in a liquid. I like it because it just blends in with everything else, but if you don’t like it that way, you can just cook up the bacon and add it at the end.

  22. My husband and I spend 2 months in Jaõa Pessoa 7 years ago and we miss it every day. I spent a few weeks in the kitchen and learned the ways, but have never actually tried to make this. I have been craving beans and rice like crazy! If i didn’t know better I would think I must be pregnant or something! I decided to make a batch of these beans. It is now 10:30pm and here we are are making rice so we can relive our Brazil days. We mostly ate the brown beans where we were but I really love black beans. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Oh, I love it!

  23. So excited you’re doing pressure cooker recipes! I hope you’ll keep doing these, like lasagna would be awesome. Xo

  24. I’ve been on the lookout for a Brazilian bean recipe so I’m thrilled to find this one in my search. My husband and I lived in Maringa (a few hours from Curitiba) for about 3 years in our late 20s. We spent quite a bit of time in Curitiba. It’s one of my very favorite cities. I’m looking forward to giving this recipe a try!

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