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.