Hawaiʻi Comfort Food: Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe
What happens when you combine two family recipes in one pot? A simple, hearty version of this favorite dish.
One of my and my family’s favorites is Portuguese Bean Soup. I like it thick, almost like a stew in a bowl. When I moved to the Mainland, I took my mom’s easy-to-make recipe with just eight ingredients and five steps. In just one hour, I could be ladling it out over rice. Once I returned home, I tackled my grandmother’s version which required more than a dozen items, took all day and almost filled the 10-quart pot my mom bought specifically for it. I loved the added flavors, but was soon looking for a shorter route to my craving.
So one day last year, I took a look at both recipes and tried incorporating steps and ingredients from each. In less than two hours, I was slurping up the best of both of my worlds.
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Serve this with a scoop of rice or, if you’re a fan of macaroni, I separate out about two cups of broth and boil the noodles it in. It gains the flavor of the soup but I can store it separately so it doesn’t break apart into an unappetizing layer of pieces during reheating.
Portuguese Bean Soup
- 5-6 pieces of smoked ham shank
- 2 10-ounce Portuguese sausages, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce
- 1 quart water
- 2 cans of kidney or garbanzo beans, drained
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 1 small head of cabbage cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch of watercress cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- Combine first eight ingredients, through the water, in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour.
- Remove ham shanks. Remove skin and fat and dice the meat.
- Add beans, potatoes and carrots and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add diced ham, cabbage and watercress and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste.