Portuguese Bean Soup (Sopa de Feijao) is another Hawaii favorite that can often be found at local eateries as the soup of the day or as a regular menu item. This is comfort food at its best.
With the surplus of leftover Portuguese Sausage I had in the refrigerator from the recent “Portuguese Sausage Shootout“, instead of freezing the remaining uncooked sausage, I took this opportunity to use it all up and make this dish.
The following recipe is my rendition, with references from Auntie Lynn and Reid over at Ono ‘Kine Grindz. Mahalo!
Portuguese Bean Soup, with a spoonful of tender Portuguese Sausage, kidney beans, carrot, potato and macaroni. Yum!
Portuguese Bean Soup
Serves approx. 10-12
3 Smoked Ham Hocks (these are usually available in the meat freezer section. Make sure they’re SMOKED)
1 Large Portuguese Sausage (any brand), cut into bite-size pieces (I used MUCH more than 1 for this batch, since that’s how much I had)
1 bag of dry kidney beans
1-2 cups (uncooked) macaroni (add more or less at your discretion)
2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 white round onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (save some extra unchopped for garnish)
2 bay leaves
1 six oz. can Tomato Paste (this will help to slightly thicken it)
1 fourteen oz. can Stewed Tomatoes
1 fourteen oz. can chicken stock
Salt and Pepper
5 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven
*Options: You can also add chopped celery and/or cabbage. I didn’t because there was no room for it. You can also substitute canned Kidney Beans for the uncooked type used here.
The most important part of this soup is the ham hock soup stock base it’s started with. This provides the dish with its “porky”, slightly smoky signature.
Ham Hocks & Cilantro (Chinese Parlsey)
Begin by placing the 3 ham hocks, 1 bay leaf and the chopped cilantro in the pot, then add the can of chicken stock and just just enough water to cover the ham hocks. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for approximately 2-1/2 hours, covered to prevent evaporation. Note that this is a stock-making process, so you don’t put all the ingredients in from the start, as they’ll obviously over-cook and become mush.
This will give you time to prepare the uncooked kidney beans. First wash and rinse them in a collander, then place in a pot of water, bring to boil for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let them sit in the heated water for about an hour, check for tenderness (bite-test one), then drain the now ready-to-use beans in the collander.
The uncooked kidney beans as they’re first placed in the pot with water
Prepare the cut-up Portuguese Sausage by frying them until slightly browned, then place on paper towel to drain oil…
After over 2 hours of simmering, the ham hock stock will look like this…
PBS stock made with ham hocks, cilantro, bay leaf, chicken stock and water
Notice the rich brown color and the porky aroma! Fish out the now-tender ham hocks and place them on a cutting board, let them cool, then remove the meat from bone with a fork and knife and discard the bone…
Tender, fully cooked ham hocks with meat removed
Now you begin throwing everything else into the pot of what you have now is essentially ham hock stock, enhanced by the Bay Leaves and Cilantro. Add the pulled ham hock meat (including the fat if you like it even more decadently tasty!), kidney beans, Portuguese Sausage, uncooked macaroni, potatoes, chopped onions, carrots, crushed garlic, the other bay leaf and stewed tomatoes (don’t add the tomato paste yet), then add enough water to cover, and let it simmer for about another hour, stirring occasionally.
The finished pot of Portuguese Bean Soup
Finish it by stirring in the tomato paste by spoonfuls until the soup reaches the desired thickness and taste. Some like it more “tomato-ey” than others. Up to you. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste, then ring the bell for dinner and enjoy!
Garnish each bowl with a sprig of Cilantro and serve with your favorite bread and butter (personally I like Safeway’s French Bread with plenty of margarine spread on it) or soda crackers.