Drinking and Eating Rio de Janeiro Style
After spending a few days enjoying the wonderful Brazilian spirit of Rio de Janeiro, your ever faithful PoshPorts Chief Ambassadors realized that we could help you bring the joy of living, eating and drinking Brazilian specialties into your own home. Many of the drinks and dishes are easily replicated and actually good for you. The Brazilians love a good rodizio churrascaria (this is a rotating barbecue where the servers keep bringing various types of grilled meats on big skewers to your table until you tell them to stop).
Churrascaria - meat served on skewers and carved right at your table.
The abundance of fresh fruit, whether for eating or included in a cocktail, the readily available vegetables, grains and, of course, alcoholic treats bring color to the table as well as the cheeks! So here's our take on how you can have your own Brazilian banquet at home, with all the trimmings you can imagine. Put on a little Bossa Nova music, and you'll be ready to dance till dawn like they do down in Rio!
We never did find the girl on Ipanema Beach
More than anything, the spirit in Rio is a state of mind. Whether on Ipanema or Copacabana or any of the other beautiful beaches, you are surrounded by coconuts, bikini-clad, tanned hunks and beauties playing volleyball or soccer in the sand while the scent of barbecuing meat wafts through breezes in the air.
The beautiful tiles along the Copacabana beaches
There are a few constants you will find at any Brazilian Churrascaria. Many different cuts of meat are served on large skewers. Picanha is prime sirloin or veal rump. Lamb leg and lamb chops are another favorite. Marinated chicken thighs or legs and Brazilian sausages are often served together. There are also pork loins, chops and barbecue pork ribs. Of course, many forms of beef are served, such as tenderloin, sirloin, skirt steak and rib eye cuts.
The trick to making the meat part of your churrascaria experience work is simply to grill a variety of meats, marinade them with your favorite seasonings and keep them coming. If you don't have a rotisserie, that's okay. Just use your grill or broiler and make sure to take the meat off early so that it doesn't overcook. Remember, meat will continue to cook for several minutes even after it is removed from the heat.
Ground manioc a Brazilian classic.
Several traditional Brazilian side dishes are also readily available at a churrascaria. One, pao de queijo (warm cheese bread) is pretty much ubiquitous. There are also various approaches to manioc also known as yucca or cassava, from french fried style to battered and deep fried, to ground into a sort of meal. Other dishes include black beans and rice, fried onion rings, fried bananas, garlic mashed potatoes, crispy polenta and grilled mozzarella cheese.
Black beans and Feijoada are traditional Brazilian fare.
Along with the sides there is generally an extensive salad bar that will have everything from shrimp and fish dishes to various cheeses, mixed salad, pasta salads, charcuterie meats such as salami and prosciutto, artichoke bottoms, creamy potato salad, steamed asparagus, quail eggs, and the ubiquitous and delicious hearts of palm, grilled pineapple and various fresh fruits including mango, papaya, watermelon and others.
Sushi and hearts of palm are always on the buffet in Brazil.
Because Brazil is home to one of the largest populations of Japanese outside of Japan, you will also often encounter freshly made sushi. There are also plenty of dessert options. From a traditional Brazilian flan, passion fruit mousse, and papaya cream to international favorites like molten chocolate cake, creme brulee, turtle cheesecake and coconut chess pie, there are plenty of sweets to make everyone smile.
Finally, there are cocktails and drinks that fit right in with the festive environment of the churrascaria. First and foremost would be the national drink of Brazil, the Caipirinha. Caipirinhas are made with a distilled alcoholic beverage that comes from the sugar cane, like rum, called Cachaca (pronounced kah-cha-sah). Cachaca is different from rum in that it is made from fresh sugarcane juice, while rum is usually made from molasses, a by-product from refineries that boil the cane juice to get sugar. The result is that cachaca is somewhat lighter and smoother than rum and makes for an excellent mixed drink - attested to by the ubiquity of the Caipirinha. Many large liquor stores will have a brand or two of Cachaca available.
However, if you are unable or uninterested in obtaining it, you may produce one of the variations of the Caipirinha, which are also seen in Brazil. If you use vodka in the drink, you will create a caipiroshka. If you use rum, you will create a caipirissima. Other versions use sake and lychee to create a fruity Asian flavor. And there are a variety of flavored vodkas and rums you could dues now to add a little fruity twist if you like.
All the fruit was fresh and juicy.
Of course, for the non-alcoholic drinks, you may find many fruit juices in their glory, from pineapple to watermelon to passion fruit, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, and even coconut water (often drunk fresh out of a green coconut). Add a little bossa nova music or the wonderful stylings of artists such as Bebel Gilberto and you have the makings of a fine Brazilian bash.
Enjoying some coconut water on the Copacabana.
Here are a few easy recipes to get you started on your own churrascaria feast.
Quick Brazilian Meaty Barbecue
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 crushed garlic cloves
3 oz. lime juice
1 lb beef sirloin cut into 2-inch cubes
8 oz. Mexican chorizo sausage cut into 2-inch lengths
16 button mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
Cut each chicken breast into 3 wide strips and place in large shallow dish. Sprinkle
with crushed garlic and pour lime juice over all. Refrigerate up to 4 hours, turning
to marinade occasionally.
Thread chicken onto a skewer, the beef onto another skewer, the sausages onto
a third skewer, and the mushrooms onto a fourth.
Brush the skewered meats and mushrooms with vegetable oil and grill over medium heat, turning frequently
and basting with more oil for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
To serve, remove the skewers and arrange on a warm serving platter. Season with salt
and pepper and serve with a salsa of your choice.
Brazilian Black Beans and Garlicky Brazilian Rice
2 cans (19 oz each) black turtle beans (regular canned black beans are fine as well)
3 links (7 oz) cure chorizo sausage. Use the dried cured either moderately spiced
Spanish or Portuguese sweet chorizo for the spice level you prefer
8 thick slices (1/2 lb) smoky bacon
1 large white onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 cups beef stock (or water for lighter flavor)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups long grain white rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup minced white onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 3/4 cups water
kosher salt to taste
Dice bacon and slice chorizo into thin disks. Heat bacon over medium heat in heavy skillet
until partially cooked then add chorizo. ooh together for 5 minutes or until chorizo gets firm
and crisp. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic and stir into bacon mixture to saute about
7 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Drain the beans and rinse well. Add beans, oregano, cumin
and bay leaf. Cook for two minutes then add stock or water and turn heat to medium low. Cook beans
uncovered for 25 minutes or until water is mostly absorbed. Stir occasionally.
For rice, mince onion and garlic. Pour oil into medium pot and coat base. Add butter, onion and garlic, then
place over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic to clear (do not let garlic brown) about 5-8 minutes. Rinse
rice several times until draining water is clear. When fully drained, ad rinsed rice to pot and stir. Add bay leaf
and cook for 304 minutes stirring regularly until grains start turning translucent around the edges. Turn heat up to high
Pour in water and add salt. Stir occasionally so rice does not stick and burn. Bring to boil and as soon as rolling boil,
cover pot with tight lid and turn heat to minimum. Let rice steam for 1-20 minutes until all water is absorbed and
rice is fork tender.
Finely chop parsley and stir into bean mixtures, which should be like a thick stew. Continue to cook beans for 5
minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve rice and beans together.
1 pound cooked yucca cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 quart canola or peanut oil for frying
Just before serving, fry the yucca in a deep fat fryer or a skillet. If using a skillet, pour
about 2 inches of oil, enough to cover the yucca wedges. Fry in several batches until
golden, about 2-3 minutes. Drain off excess oil on paper towels and serve hot.
Brazilian Cheese Rolls (Pao de Queijo)
1 cup sweet polvilho (polvilho doce) - can be found in many latin food stores
1 cup grated parmesan cheeses
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
whole milk, as needed
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet.
Mix the first 4 ingredients well, and add just enough milk to be able to form the
cheese balls by rolling them in our hands. Place the rolls on a cookie sheet and cook until golden brown
Time varies, but approximately 10 minutes.
Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad
2 large rip beefsteak or other juicy tomatoes
1 14-ounce can Brazilian hearts of palm
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Thinkly slice the tomatoes and arrange around the edge of a round platter.
Drain the hearts of palm and cut on diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in the center of the platter.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces of cachaca (or alcohol of choice)
sugar to taste
Wash the lime and roll it on a cutting board to loosen the juices. cut it into several small pieces
and place them in a lowball glass. Sprinkle the limes with sugar to taste and crush the pieces
(smashing the pulp) with a muddler or pestle just enough to release the juice. Add the cachaca
and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice cubes and stir again to blend well.
1 ripe papaya
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 Tablespoon Creme de Cassis
1 mint sprig for garnish
Peel the papaya and remove the seeds. Cut it into small pieces and place in blender with ice cream and
Creme de Cassis. Blend well until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and garnish with
Desserts were delicious and plentiful.
1 cup sugar (for the caramel)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Equal volume of whole milk (use the can to measure)
1 8-inch ring mold
Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F. Place 1 to 2 inches of water in a roasting pan and place pan in the oven.
Put the sugar in the ring mold. Place the mold directly over medium heat. Keep turning the mold until the
sugar melts into a golden brown caramel and spoon it up the sides of the mold. Be careful not to burn
the sugar. You can use an oven mitt for the turning hand and a long wooden spoon for the other. Let
the mold cool.
Combine the condensed milk, whole mil and eggs in a blender. Whip at high speed until smooth. Pour the
mixture into the mold and place in center of the roasting pan with water in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour until it turns
golden brown on top and starts to separate from the sides of the mold. Let cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator
at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
Just before serving, run the tip of a knife around the inside of the mold. Place a platter over the mold and invert. The flan
should slide out easily, but if not, give a firm shake. Spoon the caramel sauce on top and serve.
We hope you enjoy your Brazilian treats at home. If you have any questions about our trip to Rio please let us know!