Source: Modified from the series “Cozinha Regional Brasileira” (Brazilian Regional Cuisine, http://www.cozinharegional.com.br), book 1 (Minas Gerais)
History: “Tropeiros” were the name given to the conductors of “tropas”, the pack of horses and mares which were used to transport products between the producing regions and the consumer markets in central Brazil in the 17th century. One of their typical food was beans with smoked bacon, sausage, onion, garlic and eggs (which could be carried without refrigeration for a couple of days), and this recipe got the name since then. It’s a great recipe which can be done essentially in a single (large) skillet.
Variation from the original: Not much, I added more sausage than the recipe in the book asked for, but otherwise it was “by the book”. Also the book didn’t specify how to cook the beans, I added some smoked pork necks for flavor.
Ingredients from specialty stores: I got the “farinha” (toasted ground yucca root) from a Brazilian store. Everything else was found in my local Fred Meyer.
- 1 lb. pinto beans
- 1/2 – 1 lb. smoked pork necks (or ham hocks, or some other smoked pork with bones)
- 12 oz. sliced bacon
- 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut in thin (1/8”) “coins”
- 5 eggs
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup “farinha”
- salt & pepper
- green onions and parsley for decoration
Cook the beans according to the package direction, adding the smoked pork necks for flavor. When the beans are cooked, remove the necks and discard, and reserve the beans. Cut the bacon slices in small strips, then cook them in a large, non-stick skillet until the bacon pieces are crispy, having rendered most of the fat. Remove the fat and reserve it to be used later. Remove the bacon pieces and place in a plate covered with a paper towel to dry. Add the sausage and cook them, turning the pieces until they start to brown, then remove and reserve. In the same skillet, add the eggs and scramble them until they start to harden (they’ll look easy at this point), remove and reserve. Return the reserved bacon fat to the pan, then cook the onions until they start to become soft, then add and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beans to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes. Finally, slowly add the “farinha”, mixing it to incorporate. When it’s done, add the reserved eggs, bacon and sausage back to the skillet, and cook for another 2 minutes to incorporate everything.
At the end, sprinkle chopped green onions and parsley for decoration, and serve with white rice.