While Camila Alves and hubby Matthew McConaughey might be cheering on Team U.S.A in Rio de Janeiro as we speak, the 34-year-old Brazilian-American model’s favorite hometown dish is hitting grocery stores stateside.
“Brazilian food is very flavorful.We do a lot of protein,” says Alves, who recently teamed up with Brazilian food brand Forno de Minas, makers of pão de queijo (cheese rolls).
“One of the first things I do when I get off the plane [in Brazil] is buy pão de queijo . But now it’s here, and you can find it in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store,” she says.
The multitasking Alves — she launched her own lifestyle website womenoftoday.com , is a co-founder of Yummy Spoonfuls, an organic frozen baby food company and is the co-host of Food Network’s “Kids BBQ Championship” — is indulging in local eats while she’s in Rio acting as a correspondent for the E! network.
“When I go home, I love to eat feijoada , traditional Brazilian black-bean soup with ham and sausage. It’s served with rice and pico de gallo salsa that we make,” she says.
And it’s a dish she loves making for McConaughey and their three children. But if she could pass down just one dish to her kids, Alves says it would be the Brazilian version of chicken stroganoff.
“It’s completely different from the European stroganoff,” says Alves. “We use Greek olives, and mushrooms — although I don’t like the mushrooms, so I keep them out. And we use a Spanish cream [Media Crema] that isn't used in the European version. Brazilian food has a lot of protein, so if there isn’t enough chicken, it isn’t real Brazilian stroganoff.”
Alves’Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff:
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 3 bone-in split chicken breasts with skin
- 1 tablespoon achiote paste (annatto seed)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 6 cloves garlic smashed in a mortar and pestle or placed in a plastic bag and hit with a ladle
- 1/4 red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 tomato, quartered
- 4 cups water (divided on half)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of corn (frozen, fresh or canned)
- 1/3 cup sliced green olives
- 2 tablespoons Media Crema (find it in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store -- open can and refrigerate for 15 min only using the cream that rises to the top)
- Cooked rice, for serving
1. Heat slow cooker on high, add oil, chicken skin side down, salt and achiote into slow cooker. Toss to coat chicken.
2. In a blender, add smashed garlic, red pepper, cilantro, diced onion, and tomato. Pour in 2 cups of water and blend well. Pour blended mixture over chicken in slow cooker and then add two more cups of water to slow cooker.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours.
4. Drain the chicken and vegetables, reserving all the broth.
5. Let chicken cool and pull/shred meat from the chicken breasts.
6. Return the meat to a large fry pan. Add corn, green olives and only the cream that rises to the top of the Media Creme, and some of the reserved chicken stock to reach your desired consistency.
7. Warm it up and serve with rice.