The rise of the churrasco craze has given people a narrow, if somewhat authentic, view of Brazilian food. There are, indeed, a lot of churrascarias in Brazil—though in my five trips there I’ve yet to see a red-and-green block that you position according to how hungry you are. You can eat all the grilled chicken hearts you want, but until you’ve had rice and beans made by a Brazilian, you haven’t truly sampled the cuisine.
I used to think beans needed salt pork or ham hocks to come out right. Not so. Beans are just as delicious with no meat at all. I imagine there may come a time when you don’t even need beans to make beans–just air and a discerning palette. In the mean time, here’s my world-famous recipe for beans.