“Piu Piu”. That slogan was the headline of a car advertisement I saw in Brazil many years ago. I asked my colleagues, “what’s that?”. Umberto immediately jumped in, “when we see a nice ass on the street, we say Piu Piu. Since the back of this car looks as good as a hot female ass, we decide to use it as our slogan”. Wow. Really? If we do that in the US, I wonder how many female consumers would buy the car. I certainly wouldn’t want to drive an “ass car” and have men “piu piu” all over me.
Brazil is one of the most uninhibited countries and one of the best “melting pots” where I have lived. People are just so natural in so many different ways with very little self-inhibition. And, whatever skin color they have – white, black, Asian or mixed – they are all proud Brazilians. I love how “color blind” many Brazilians are. They remind me of patients in the hospital. Whatever race or background they have, they all look the same in their hospital gowns. And, they all want to live life, just like we do. People are people however they seem to look. And, I love that the differences in people make our lives more interesting and enriching.
As I love the Brazilian-style “melting pot”, I am cooking my own Brazilian melting pot, a pork stew deliciously blended with many ingredients in one large pot. First, I soak 2 cups dried navy beans in hot water. Separately, I cut 2 lbs pork tenderloin into stew size chunks and season them with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I then brown them in a thick pot and set them aside. Using the same pot, I stir fry 1 chopped sweet onion, 2 thinly sliced peeled parsnips & 5 chopped tomatoes with some olive oil. Then I add ½ cup New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon basil, 2 teaspoons sea salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Lastly, I add the browned pork and navy beans to the pot (with 1 cup fresh water, not the water that the beans are soaked in) and simmer until the navy beans get soft.
This stew is really yummy. Each ingredient adds unique flavor to the stew in such a balanced way. Mild in flavor and dense in texture, the creamy white navy beans and lean pork meats perfectly soak and create the delicious broth of this “melting pot”. And, Parsnips add a great sweet tone to the stew. When eaten raw, this pale root vegetable tastes like a mixture between starchy cassava and carrot. It’s a sleeping lion waking up in the pot of stew. When cooked, its flavor gets sweeter and texture turns starchier. It beautifully holds everything together in a pot. Who would have known a sleeping lion would become a “mother figure” in this Brazilian “melting pot”.
I pair this stew with a 2006 Bramosia Chianti Classico DOCG from Italy. A blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot, it’s a dense wine (like the texture of the stew) with flavors of smoky sour cherry and hint of dried potpourri and pepper. The rich Brazilian stew magically turns this full-bodied Chianti wine tastier, while the wine makes the stew taste even more amazing. Everything fits in well, from each ingredient in the stew, to the bread (Acme’s pain-au-levain), to the wine on the dining table. With nothing too overpowering or wimpy, they draw the best flavor from each other. Sounds like a match made in the heaven? You bet! Enjoy this great Brazilian recipe and the Chianti wine and let me know what you think! Happy cooking!