A few weeks ago I made Portuguese Bean Soup. I have only had it once or twice, but it is a very popular soup in Hawaii. It is also the perfect soup for the cool and wet winter we have been having the last month or so. There are different ways of making this hearty soup as I have found when doing my research, but the common denominators seem to be pork, kidney beans, carrots, celery, pasta, and potatoes.
I used frozen pork hocks, actually I purchased a whole pork leg, hoof and all. I only used the upper parts of the leg, which is the hock, and tossed the hoof away. I think the next time I make this soup, I will get the smoked hock to add a smokier flavor. I suppose another way to add some smokiness is to add bacon, but I will try it with the smoked hock first.
I wanted to make a big pot so we can freeze some for later. I ended up using my 7 1/4 quart Le Creuset and almost ran out of room! That is a lot of soup!
This is also not a quick soup to make. I think I started prepping around 5:00 in the afternoon and we didn’t eat it until around 9:00 at night! The soup takes a few hours to simmer so the pork can tenderize and all the flavors mesh together.
After simmering for a couple of hours, take the pork hock out and remove the meat from the bones. Then throw the meat back into the pot. Yum.
PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP (SOPA DE FEIJAO)
(Adapted from different recipes)
2 – 3 medium sized ham hocks (I used frozen but will try the smoked next time)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 pound Portuguese sausage, diced in cubes
1 large onion
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
3 15-ounce cans of kidney beans, remove the water
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
1/2 pound elbow macaroni or other shaped pasta
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of cilantro or Chinese parsley
2 tablespoons black peppercorn
5 dried bay leaves
Sea salt to taste
1. In a large stock pot, place the ham hocks, onions, garlic, pepper, bay leaves, and pour the chicken stock and water in the pot until the ingredients have submerged.
2. Bring the pot to boil, cover the pot, and lower the heat to simmer for about 2 hours.
3. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
4. Take the ham hocks out and remove the meat from the bones. Add the meat back and cilantro to the pot.
5. Simmer for another 40 minutes.
6. Add the pasta and cook for another 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Recipe note: I would try the smoked hock next time to add some smokiness and also substitute the peppercorns with another spice like cayenne pepper because the whole peppercorns were too spicy to bite into and they all accumulated at the bottom of the pot. It was not pleasant getting a spoonful shoved into my mouth.