portugese bean soup

25 Dec

I woke up with the sun today — I always forget how brightly it shines here in Hawaii. It’s Christmas day and it will be no less than 85 degees with golden sunshine and breezy tradewinds that will keep me from sweating too much.

For the rest of the nation, it’s probably a soup day. You know what I mean, after tearing open your pile of presents, it’s time to cosy up next to the fire and play with your new Kindle Fire (anyone actually buy that sh*t?). For lunch or dinner, nothing sounds better than a hearty bowl of soup made by mom or grandma.

While Christmas shopping, I spotted this cookbook at Williams Sonoma. 365 soup recipes?! Ridiculous and yet a mental note was filed under “must-haves.” It’d be even more ridiculous if I still lived here in Hawaii because no one eats soup here. That is, except for Portugese Bean Soup!

Made with smoky ham hocks, Portugese sausage (like a spicy linguica with a bit of stink, made locally in Hawaii), vegetables, beans, and macaroni, it’s a classic peasant food–hearty, filling and economical. It’s the best soup you could eat on Christmas day, or any day for that matter.

portugese bean soup
hawaiian style

1 smoked ham hock
1 (10 ounce) portugese sausage (or spicy cajun-flavored pork sausage, or even better, kimchi portugese sausage)
1 onion, chopped
2.5 quarts water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 celery rib, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can white kidney beans
1 cup macaroni

Place ham hock, half of the chopped onion, and water in pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Meanwhile, slice sausage into bite-sized pieces (I like cubes) and saute until browned. Add half of the sausage into boiling mixture.

Remove meat from ham hock, chop, and return to soup (I toss the skin back in for flavor). Add two bouillon cubes, potatoes, celery, carrots, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, boil macaroni according to instructions on package. Drain and set aside.

Stir in cabbage and kidney beans, cook until the cabbage has softened, about 10 minutes. Spoon soup into bowls and stir in a scoop or two of the macaroni. You can also add the macaroni directly into the soup pot, but it will get soggy after awhile.

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