Coxinhas

You know what I miss most being away from Brazil (besides my family and friends, who I deeply miss all the time)? It is going to a café or a snack bar (known as  “lanchonete”) in the middle of the afternoon and order a coxinha. Every time I’m at the airport, either arriving or leaving Brazil, I eat a “coxinha” and guaraná. The only thing I don’t like is having to pay R$10 for it… and that is expensive compared to what you would pay anywhere else.

But you must be wondering, what is coxinha? Well, “coxa” means chicken thigh (drumstick) in Portuguese and “coxinha” means “little thigh”, thus the shape. It’s a fried dumpling filled with shredded chicken. Originally coxinha was made with chicken thighs and that’s where the shape comes from, however it’s common to use chicken breast now.

It’s common in Brazil to make cocktail size coxinhas and serve them in birthday parties, but that you would just buy from some lady who sells them by hundreds. Since I don’t have these ladies around, I had to make my own coxinhas. I have to tell you they can take quite some time to make, but you can freeze them and fry whenever you feel home sick =) Give it a try!

1) Dough after kneaded 2) Coxinhas filled and shaped as drumsticks 3) Frying coxinhas in hot oil 4) Ready to serve

Coxinhas

Recipe from here Nestlé (in Portuguese)

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 kg chicken breast
  • 3 medium potatoes (about 300 g)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 150 g butter or margarine
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • fine breadcrumbs
  • enough oil to fry

Preparation

Filling:

  1. Dissolve 3 chicken cubes into 2 cups of boiling water. Place the chicken breast and potatoes into a medium saucepan, add 4 cups of water and the 2 cups of chicken stock. In a medium heat, simmer it until the chicken and potatoes are cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken from the stock and let it cool. Drain the potatoes and reserve the stock. Mash the potatoes and reserve. Pass the stock through a fine sieve and measure 5 cups, which will be used in the dough. Shred the chicken and reserve.
  3. To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions until slighty golden. Add the shredded chicken, the remaining chicken cube and sauté until well combined and dried. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set this aside and let it cool.

Dough:

In a saucepan, add the mashed potatoes, 5 cups of stock, butter and bring it to the boil. Sprinkle the flour, stirring constantly until well combined and you have no sign of raw flour. Cook for few minutes stirring firmly. Pour the dough into a surface and smoothly knead the dough (it will be hot, so be careful) until it cools to room temperature.

Shaping:

Take a small portion of dough and make a ball, then flatten it on your hand. Add some of the filling and bring all the edges together, shaping it as a drumstick (see picture 2 above). After they’re all shaped, coat them with breadcrumbs, then the beaten eggs, and again with the breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil until it is golden. Remove from the oil and drain in kitchen paper.

Freezing:
We can freeze the unfried coxinhas coated in breadcrumbs. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Fry them straight from frozen, but control the temperature of oil so it’s hot enough to fry them not too fast or they will brown on the outside but will still be frozen inside.

Yield: 40 medium size coxinhas

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Mexidinho à Mineira

If you are reading this blog in English, it’s likely that you never tried “comida mineira” or food from Minas Gerais, a state in Brazil. In Brazil, each state has its own culinary style, and in my opinion, Minas Gerais is on top of it. If you want to have an idea, go to google and type “comida mineira” and take a look at the images. They speak for themselves… dishes with bacon, sausages, pork, beans, and of course “farofa”. Farofa is a toasted manioc flour mixture that can be found in some delicatessen in the UK. I always bring mine from Brazil every time I go back 🙂

This recipe is a one pot rice dish, perfectly for weeknight dinners, which combines wonderful flavours. My mom and I saw this recipe on tv once, and we had to make it on that same evening. After that, I lost count how many times we had it. There is only one problem… it’s impossible to stop eating! Give it a try and tell me if you can.

Mexidinho à Mineira

Ingredients

  • 80g bacon, cubed
  • 200g smoked sausage, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large tomato, cubed (seeds removed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g collard greens (known as fresh greens in UK), stalk removed and finely sliced
  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • 4 cups cooked long grain rice
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 chili finely chopped (seeds removed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 50g farofa (toasted manioc flour mixture)
  • 100g halloumi

Preparation

  1. Heat a large saucepan and fry the bacon (it’s not necessary to add oil). Transfer to a plate with kitchen paper and reserve. On the fat remaining in the frying pan, fry the sausage. When the sausage is cooked, add the onion, garlic, chili (if using), tomatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  2. In another frying pan (preferably non stick), make scrambled eggs and reserve. On this frying pan, add the collard greens just to wilt it but still keeping the vibrant green colour. Season with salt and reserve. Slice the halloumi into tick slices and grill it until they have a nice golden crust. Cube the halloumi and reserve.
  3. In the saucepan with the bacon and sausage mixture, add the beans, rice, parsley, scrambled eggs, greens, and the bay leave. Season if necessary (but be careful as the bacon and sausage are already salty). Mix well carefully so you don’t break the rice grains or smash the beans.
  4. Add the farofa slowly, the cheese cubes and mix everything together. Remove the bay leave and serve.

Yield: 4 a 6 servings.