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BRAZILIAN BLACK BEAN STEW (Feijoada)

Serves: 6 to 8 
A vegetarian version of Brazil's famous national dish, this stew is abundant with nourishing ingredients. Served with steamed fresh greens and a tropical fruit salad. 

3 cups water 
1 cup tomato juice 
1 1/2 cups brown rice 
1 tablespoon light olive oil 
1 large onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 
4 cups cooked black beans, or two 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed 
1 large red bell pepper, diced 
1 cup diced ripe tomatoes, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes 
1 small fresh hot green chili, or more to taste 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley 
Salt to taste 
Combine the water and tomato juice in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the rice, then lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes. 

Heat the oil in a large soup pot or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden. 

Stir the diced sweet potatoes into the pot along with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, until the sweet potato dice are just tender but still firm, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Add the beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, and chili. Simmer gently for 15 minutes more, uncovered. Stir in the parsley or cilantro and season to taste with salt. Serve over the hot cooked rice.