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Barreado (Brazilian Clay-Pot Beef Stew)

Barreado is a Brazilian stew that’s cooked in a claypot, sealed with dough. It’s famous in the small town of Morretes in the state of Paraná.

Barreado (Brazilian Clay-Pot Beef Stew)

Serves 8

Barreado was originally conceived as an easy source of energy for carnival revellers who partied throughout the night. Nowadays people travel to Morretes via the Serra Verde Express – a spectacular railway that connects the capital to the coast – to marvel at the enchanting scenery and try the famous barreado.

1 kg stewing beef, cut into cubes (see note)

100g bacon, cut into thin strips

3 onions, chopped 

6 garlic cloves, chopped 

60g (1 bunch) chives, snipped

4 bay leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

500g (4 cups) cassava flour or plain all-purpose flour

2 bananas, chopped

Chilli sauce, to serve

Arrange the beef, bacon, onions, garlic, chives, bay leaves and cumin in layers in a claypot. Cover with the lid. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the flour. Put most of the remaining flour in a large bowl and gradually mix in 340 ml (11½ fl oz/1⅓ cups) water to make a firm dough, adding the rest of the flour if needed.

Mould the dough around the rim of the claypot to seal the lid. Put the claypot over a low heat and cook for 8 hours.

Put the reserved 2 tablespoons of flour in a deep serving dish. Crack open the dough seal, spoon the stew into the serving dish and stir until creamy. Serve the stew with the bananas and chilli sauce.

Note: We suggest using osso buco or gravy beef. The stew is best cooked on a wood stove. You can also use a cast-iron casserole if you do not have a claypot.

Recipe and image extracted from “This Is Brazil” by Fernanda de Paula and Shelley Hepworth – Hardie Grant Books $34.95, available in stores nationally.

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