Saturday, July 9, 2011

Portuguese Bean Soup

If there is one soup that represents Hawaii it would be the infamous Portuguese Bean Soup, a richly flavored ham broth kicked up several notches with the distinctly unique flavor of Portuguese sausage and laced with a light tomato flavor. If that’s not enough to get your taste buds tingling, how about the addition of onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, kidney beans and cabbage? This is definitely a soup, but could easily be mistaken as a stew, because of all the hearty chunks of goodness in it.


I usually cook this soup in two steps. The first day I let the slow cooker tenderize the ham shank and flavor the broth. Then I chill it down in the fridge overnight to allow the fat to float to the top so it will be easy to remove. On day two, I toss all the other soup ingredients into a pot and cook it up, pulling the meat from the ham shank and adding it to the soup.

That’s one way to make it, but there's also a simplified version. By skipping the step to make the ham broth and subbing it out with a combination of canned chicken and beef broth, you get almost the same effect with less work. It's not quite as rich, but still pretty darn tasty.

No matter which way you choose to make this soup be sure to soften the onions and fry up the Portuguese sausage before adding them into your soup. This little step will heighten the flavor of your soup immensely.

I have written both ways to make the soup below.  If you want to skip the ham shank scroll down to the second recipe.

TRADITIONAL PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP (with ham shank)
1 ½ pounds ham shanks
10 cups water
This with yield 7 – 8 cups of broth.
13 oz. Portuguese sausage, cubed or sliced into circles
1 large onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 med. red skin potatoes, bite size cubes
2 med. carrots, bite size cubes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 whole bay leaf
1 14oz.can Italian stewed tomatoes
2 8oz.cans tomato sauce
1 15oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1 small cabbage, chopped into bite size pieces

Place ham shanks in a slow cooker and cover with water. Cook on high for 4 – 5 hours or until meat is falling from the bone. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.

Remove and discard the fat that solidifies and floats to the top. Remove ham shank and remove meat. Discard fat and set aside.

Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over med heat and cook Portuguese sausage till lightly brown and to remove fat. Drain on paper towels and set aside. In the same pot add about 1 Tbsp. oil and sauté onions and garlic until soft.

Add back Portuguese sausage, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, bay leaf, tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, shank meat and 7 - 8 cups of ham broth.

Bring to a boil; then lower heat to low; cover and let simmer for 30 min. or until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

Bring heat back up to a boil and add cabbage. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Because the ham shank was cooked and tenderized prior to making the soup it will take only about 30 – 45 minutes to finish the soup.

EASY Slow Cooker PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP (no ham shank)
1 large onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 med. red skin potatoes, bite size cubes
2 med. carrots, bite size cubes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 whole bay leaf
3 14oz.cans chicken broth
1 14oz.can beef broth
1 14oz.can Italian stewed tomatoes
2 8oz.cans tomato sauce
1 15oz. can red kidney beans, drained
13 oz. Portuguese sausage, cubed or sliced into circles
1 thick Ham steak, cubed
1 small cabbage, cut into bite size pieces

Layer all the ingredients EXCEPT THE CABBAGE into an 8 quart slow cooker in the order listed.

Don’t stir.

Cover and cook on high for 4 – 5 hours. Uncover for the last hour stirring occasionally to allow the broth to get some body.

Cook cabbage separately in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Add to soup before serving.
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4 comments:

  1. this was so good esp in the winter in Canada! ty

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  2. Thanks Brooke. We love it all year long. I guess it's because there is no winter in Hawaii..

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  3. Do you have a Oxtail soup recipe??

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    Replies
    1. Aloha Brandi, Yes I do!!! I posted it already and you can find it at http://susan-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.com/2010/12/ox-tail-soup.html

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