“Immigrants from the Azores to the south brought this technique to Brazil. In the Azores Islands, they had a custom of cooking dishes under the ground, since some of the archipelago was volcanic and the temperature of the ground cooked the food. Here, the technique was adapted. Beef is seasoned with a lot of cumin and cooked for a long time, around 10 hours, in a clay pot that has a seal around the lid made of a mixture of water and cassava flour" (the pot used to be sealed with mud or "barro" in Portuguese, hence the name of the dish).
Use a clay pot that fits approximately 5 liters
- 3kg of bottom round beef cut into cubes (1 inch)
- 200g of bacon in very thin strips
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 200ml of red wine vinegar
- 200ml of oil
- 8 cloves of garlic cut into thick slices
- 8 tomatoes with skin and seeds removed
- 1 package of scallion and 1 package of parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground before use
- 2 tbsp salt
- 800ml of water
- 3 bay leaves
For the seal
- 200g of cassava flour
- 500ml of cold water (approx.)
Slowly add the water to the flour while mixing with your hands until it turns into a thick paste.
- fine cassava flour
- plantain slices fried with a little butter.
- Line the bottom of the clay pot with the bacon strips.
- Next make a layer of meat, a handful of scallion and parsley and some garlic slices and sprinkle with cumin. Repeat these layers until all of the ingredients are in the pot.
- Using a blender, puree the tomatoes with water and salt. Mix with the oil and vinegar and pour on the meat. Finalize with the bay leaves.
- Place the lid on the pot and seal with the cassava flour paste.
- Cook on a thick iron griddle on a gas stovetop or in a wood-fired oven (never cook over direct heat) for 14 to 16 hours on low heat.
- If the griddle maintains constant low heat, the liquid will not dry out and the seal will not break. This can be measured by placing your hand over the lid of the pot. If you can stand the heat for one minute, the temperature is right. At no time should the temperature fall below this level.
- If any air escapes during cooking, seal the holes using the flour paste.
- Use a thin-tipped knife to open, cutting the seal where the lid meets the pot and preserving the flour crust to maintain the aspect of the dish.
- To serve, make a pirão by placing a spoonful of fine cassava flour and a ladleful of barreado into a soup dish. Place a little more meat and the banana over the pirão.
- Servings: 20
- Type: Lunch, Dinner, Entree
- Categories: Brazil, Recipes
- Tags: Dinner, Entrée, Lunch