I was in a grocery store the other day and saw a package of smoked pork neck bones. I don’t recall ever eating them before; but they were enticing, and I had a good intuition on how they might be prepared. Slow-cooked with spices and black beans, I thought, and they might evoke memories of Brazilian feijoada. Now before you rap my knuckles, understand that I am not saying this is anything that approximates feijoada: I know that the real thing requires multiple steps and is a very complicated dish. I only say that this dish may evoke memories of that venerable Brazilian dish. Decide for yourself. In any case, this is a simple matter to prepare, is very inexpensive, and is undeniably delicious.
I prepared this in my Insta-Pot pressure cooker, and would recommend using it. If you don’t have one, a pot on a stove will do just fine, as long as you wait until the end to add the meat. The dry beans will take a lot longer to cook, of course.
2 or 3 medium size, smoked pork neck bones
2 cups of dry black beans
Pork stock, chicken stock (or water, if no other option)
Powdered chicken bullion
Bay leaves (fresh, if possible)
Ancho chilies (this is optional; I like chilies of all kinds, but if you don’t think they work well, omit)
Rinse the beans and place them in the Insta-Pot. Add enough water (or stock) so that a thick stew will result after cooking. If you use water, add some powdered chicken bullion for flavor. You can get this at any Mexican or Hispanic grocery store. You should have it anyway, as it is a versatile ingredient to have in your pantry. Add the rest of the spices. If you want to add different ones from the ones I’ve recommended here, do that. I also like to add ancho chilies to dishes like this. You can cut them up over the pot with a kitchen shears, taking care to remove the seeds. I also like to add a teaspoon of liquid smoke for extra flavor. If you can find natural bay leaves in the produce section of your grocery store, they are worth buying. If not, the dried type will do.
Add the neck bones. You can use more or less, taking care not to overload the pot. Cook everything on high pressure for 30 minutes, then let the machine sit until the pressure dissipates (about 25 minutes). A grand smell will have filled the room by this time.
Plate and serve. The meat should be soft enough to fall off the bone with slight pressure from a fork. It looks like this:
Eat in good health. This dish goes well with a strong beer.
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