Friday, February 13, 2009

Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe and Other Good Things!

It is all about my Portuguese Bean Soup recipe, but before you start reading, I must tell you while that this post is about Portuguese bean soup, there are some other interesting things you have to read first, before you get to my recipe! Read on….

Hawaii has many ethnic influences from it's sugar plantation history. Immigrant workers arrived on Hawaiian shores from all around the world; Chinese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Japanese, Koreans, British (especially the Scots), Spanish and of course… the Portuguese. This post is about the Portuguese and one food that you see every where on the islands that they created here.

The Portuguese came with a love of music and the ukulele, which has become an icon of Hawaiian Music and culture was a result There are many stories about how the Uke came to be. One is that a ship named the Ravenscrag arrived in Honolulu on the afternoon of August 23, 1879, it was carrying 419 Portuguese immigrants from the island of Madeira to work in the sugar cane fields. It had been a long and hard journey of over 4 months and some 15,000 miles. In celebration of their arrival, Joao Fernandes borrowed his friend's braguinha ( a small instrument shaped like a guitar) , jumped off the ship, and started playing folks songs from his native land on the wharf. The Hawaiians who came down to the dock were very impressed at the speed of this musicians' fingers as they danced across the fingerboard and they called the instrument "ukulele", which translates into English as "jumping flea". You see, that was the image conjured up by those flying fingers.Another story says that Queen Lili'uokalani thought it came from the Hawaiian words for "the gift that came here", or "uku" (gift or reward) and "lele" (to come).

Another legend says the instrument was originally called "ukeke lele" or "dancing ukeke" (ukeke being the Hawaiian's three stringed musical bow). The name, being mispronounced over the years, became "ukulele".

Still another theory comes from a story about Edward Purvis, an English army officer and the Assistant Chamberlain to the court of King David
alakaua, who was very adept at playing the braguinha. Since he was small and sprightly, the rather large Hawaiians nicknamed him "ukulele", the whole "jumping flea" thing all over again.

And yet another version of the origin of the world "ukulele" is attributed to Gabriel Davian and Judge W. L. Wilcox, who was a member of a well-known island family. According to the story, the two men were in attendance at a housewarming party at the Wilcox home in Kahili, where Davian was playing an 'ukulele he had made himself. When one of the guests asked what it was called, Davion jokingly replied that, judging from the way one "scratched at it," it was a "jumping flea". Wilcox, who was fluent in Hawaiian, was asked for the Hawaiian translation and is supposed to have answered, "'Ukulele!".
Because of colonization, a long history of shipping, the Portuguese had many influences on food and cultures around the world. Portugal formerly had a large empire, and the cuisine has been influenced in both directions. The Portuguese influence is strongly evident in Brazilian cuisine, which features its own versions of Portuguese dishes such as feijoada and caldeirada (fish stew). Other former colonies include the Indian province of Goa, where dishes such as vindaloo show the Portuguese influence in its pairing of vinegar and garlic.

Portuguese trade ships reached Japan in around 1550. Japanese lords enjoyed Portuguese confectionery. It was remodeled as Kompeito and Kasutera, and influenced Wagashi. Tempura was introduced to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century by early Portuguese missionaries.
I digress, the reason I am writing this post is that the Portuguese also brought food. Along with Portuguese sweet breads in a variety of forms (Pao Doce), malasadas (like giant jelly doughnuts) Portuguese sausages have become an important part of the Hawaiian diet. It is not uncommon to see people sitting on the side of the road selling Portuguese pickled onions from the trunks of their cars.

The Portuguese sausages (linguiça, chouriço), sometimes quite spicy, are served for breakfast and are even available in Hawaiian McDonalds at breakfast, along with SPAM. I will be making posts about some of the above foods in future posts, but the Portuguese Sausage plays a role in this post.
And then there is the bean soup (sopa de feijão) which is eaten regularly in the Hawaiian Islands by families of all ethnicities. It is at almost every festival and many restaurants as well as being a comfort food for all Hawaiians. Find any community or church cookbook and you will find many recipes for Portuguese Bean Soup. While all have kidney beans and Portuguese Sausage in a tomato base, the other ingredients vary. I used cabbage, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, chick peas & macaroni in mine. It made a huge pot and I froze a couple of containers of it for later. We have already had it for two meals and have enough for 3-4 more.
Ham Hocks are essential to the complex and rich flavor to this soup. If you adverse to using them, then you can use chopped ham, or eliminate the ham flavoring all together, but if you want the real thing, you need them. Some people also add bacon, I do not.

2-3 medium sized smoked ham hocks or ham shanks
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound Portuguese sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced (I used “hot” sausages, but they make them mild)
1 large or two small Maui onions, coarsely chopped
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 cup chunky diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
3 15-ounce cans kidney beans with liquid or a 1# bag of kidney beans soaked over night
2 cups of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) soaked over night.
2 14.5-ounce cans diced organic tomatoes (or one large can)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
½ pound of elbow macaroni
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch cilantro (Chinese parsley), coarsely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley
2 Tablespoons of black peppercorns
5 fresh bay leaves or 3 dried bay leaves

All amounts are approximate. You may want to add more or less of any ingredient depending on your own personal taste. Feel free to play with this recipe. I did by combining several I found. I am even thinking that fresh corn off the cob would be good with this when in season, which is almost all year in Hawaii.
In large stock pot, combine ham hocks, onion, garlic, black peppercorns and bay leaves. Add chicken broth and just enough water to cover the ham hocks completely. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Simmer covered for about 2 hours. This slow cooking will give the soup it's rich flavor.

Remove the ham hocks and de-bone, dice any meat and set aside.

Put the pot in a large bowl of ice and after about 30 minutes skim any fat off. Return pot to the stove.
To the pot, add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, potatoes, ½ of the parsley and ½ of the cilantro and all of the cabbage. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Add in diced ham hocks and Portuguese sausage. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Add macaroni and cook until cooked through (about 10 minutes more).

Serve topped with fresh chopped parsley & cilantro and cracked black pepper.

This recipe also freezes quite well.


Sam said...

I can almost smell that picture. Dev's Portagee Bean Soup on the menu this week.

Connie Lou said...

You make the mother country proud! The Portuguese in me says "muito obrigado!"

allensylves said...

Are you familiar with Couve Tronchuda or Portuguese Kale? I somehow ran onto references to it the end of last October and its use in Portuguese soup instead of pasta (see the edhat link). Igot some seed from Redwood City Seeds, , and my plants are now approaching mature size (?) leaves. It really does look similar to collards, but my collards are huge. We had a mild winter here in Baton Rouge, so it has done well.
Here are a couple links:

The links may be split when this posts, so they may have to be cut and pasted.
Baton Rouge, LA and HPP

Alexandra said...

I am portuguese, i liked very mutch of your blog.
I have to say that as far as you are from Portugal you manage to do an excelent image of our soap.
I only have to add one thing to your recepie to do as the portuguese do. We have two ways of doing that soap, the full and the half. The full it's made with meat of pork and some bone of cow so it gives flavor to the bean, because the meat and the beans are cook together, and the rest it is was you do. The half it's made without the tomato paste and saussage. And the two versions are made with the macaroni.

Muito obrigado,

Devany said...

Thank you for your comments Alexandra! I will take some of these things in my next recipe! There are many Portuguese people here in Hawaii, but they have lived here for many generations and probably things change over the years with what is available. I use Pork bones, not cow and they are smoked ham hocks.


Tinky said...

This looks rich and warm and yummy,Devany--and I loved the history, especially the ukulele stuff. I haven't seen a ukulele in years (I actually knew how to play it a little when I was a child in the Philippines). Time to start looking ... or move to Hawaii!

Janet Montrose said...

I made this for my step father Virgil for our weekly card playing night. I added roasted tomatos and corn. It was so great he took the left over(1/2 pot) home and is buying a ticket for my daughter and new grand keiki to come and visit! I will serve this again when I need a trip to the Mauna Kea Resort...... Mahalo for a great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Thank-You for the recipe :). My ex-husband is Portuguese and so that makes my two son's Portuguese. I have lived off the Big Island for
15 years now and missed this recipe often. How Gracious of you to share this .

Laurie said...

I grew up with this soup! My grandmother, Belina DaCosta Rogers, lived in Kaka'ako where my father was born, and she taught my mother (who was from Maine) to make it. Thank you for publishing this recipe. Is it all right if I share it on Facebook?

Monica Pileggi said...

Mahalo for your recipe. I grew up on Oahu (years ago) and ate this whenever I could. My mom used to make this too. I'll have to find her recipe but will definitely make yours.


Anonymous said...

Aloha thank you so much for your recipe, longtime ago as a little boy we used to have some Portuguese bean soup. Many years later I became a chef and I wanted a new recipe for soups and just from memory I made this soup and it became an instant hit and one of the most popular, the recipe is just like yours except I use two different kinds of beans, real ono. Also thank you for the uke history. Mahalo for the memories

Anonymous said...

Mahalo..thank you for this recipe "Portuguese Bean Soup." also for the story of the Ukulele..
Brings back precious memories...My brothers and sisters grew up in Waikiki and Kakaako..Our dad used to own some resturants in Waikiki..used to surf with the Duke and hawaii beach boys..He had a surfing dog called Rockney...

clarence said...

Clarence: I like your recipe for the bean soup. My brother has been cooking Portuguese bean soup for several years for my disabled sister. Each time I have the chance so have his soup, it reminds me of our sister. Enjoyed you history of the Portuguese jumping flea, now the Hawaiian Uke. Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

VERY good recipe.. also bringing back memories.. i was blessed to live there for a period of time.. i had my entire life 'longed' to go to the islands. through years of moving, i had lost the original recipe given to me by my dear friend, and recently found it but.. that was in 1994. i like to think my cooking has improved. her recipe didnt call for the pasta but; it is exactly along my thinking and i must say i was pleased to see your page. mahalo

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe, I'm making it right now for my family. It was either a Easter brunch or this :) This is my first time in 19 years to make portuguese bean soup because I was very intimidated me. It's sad cuz its my husbands favorite!! I'm a really good cook but I thought it was a long hard process, you made it so simple. Thank you :)

LunaCafe said...

I love hearty, homey, comforting food like this. Happy to find your blog. Will be back often. ...Susan

Nancie McDermott said...

Wonderful feast, of knowledge, photographs, and a recipe I am eager to cook in my home kitchen. Love your photographs too.

Richard Rochkovsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Rochkovsky said...

made this for a plein air group of painters the other day - musta been som kine lolo - thought it would all fit in a 4 quart casserole!! great recipe - can i link to this from my blog

heatherleigh said...

Just got back from the Big Island and was looking for a great recipe for this soup! Amazing! Tried it this week and it was an instant hit! Thank you so much!!!

Devany said...

You are so welcome Heather! Glad you liked it!

Di Lewis said...

HI! Stumbled upon your spot, thank you for the recipe. It has been many years since I have had good Portugese Bean Soup, I cannot wait to make it for my family!Huggs, Sunny109

Anonymous said...

I live in Hawaii and now am visiting my daughter and husband expecting their first child here in DC. She has been craving this and we grew up on this soup as part of our heritage. I came across your recipe and it was almost the exact same thing to a tee! We also use steak meat along with the sausage and hamhocks for added flavor. Thanks for keeping our heritage alive and passed on to the next generations!



Cookie said...

I was born and raised in Waialua. My great grandparents came from Portugal. My grandma used to make this bean soup all the time. She used pinto beans and mac. I still make it today. About the Uke. she told us that a man was playing the uke under a tree and every so often he would scrach himself, so the hawaiians names it jumping flea. You hear all kinds of stories. Thats what makes living in Hawaii so great. My grandma use to raise her own kale. She would put it in cornmeal. I has forgotten about that. Thanks for the memories. Love your post.

dee5 said...

Mahalo Aunty!

dee5 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mahalo Nui Aunty!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this recipe. My wife and I just returned from a trip to Hawaii celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. We stayed with family in Kailua Oahu. We visited Hilo to travel to the vocanoes. It was a wonderful trip. Our cousin's wife (who is originally from Hilo) fixed us this soup while at their home and we loved it. I googled the recipe and found this site and want you to know we plan on making this and inviting friends over some night. Thanks again.

Devany said...

So glad you liked Hawaii and the recipe! Enjoy!

Nicole clark said...

Aloha! I am featuring your recipe in my blog today along with directions for pressure canning it. Thank you so much!

Nicole clark said...

My family lives on the island of Maui and my father and I live in WA.. I just love your recipe, I have included links to your blog on mine! The only thing I adjusted was the noodles, with canning you cannot. we love portagee bean soup!

Anonymous said...

Just walked through Haleakala Crater and met a kamaaina family at Holua who had made Portuguese Bean Soup the night before. I thought about a recipe for days and after walking out Kaupo Gap I googled it and up popped your recipe. Looking forward to making it tomorrow with the hamhocks.

Mahalo Nui loa

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your recipe. I am making this soup now. I am 56 yrs old and lived in Hawaii when I was in my 20s. I miss it so much.I haven't had this soup in over 30 yrs and I am looking forward to it. My wife just had brain surgery and can't tolerate meat right now. (a whole other story)So I will be separating the Ham hocks and sausage and finish off the soup in two separate pots. Hope it works. Smells good so far!

Terri Hansen-Shon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri Hansen-Shon said...

Aloha this is my second time making this recipe and it is fabulous! Everyone who eats it tells me what a great cook I am. LOL I don't cook normally but I really enjoy the comments.

Thank you very much for this awesome recipe!!

Anonymous said...

We just had this soup in Lihue airport on our way back to Canada and hubby asked me to try to find a recipe. Can't wait to try it. Was yummy and filling when we ate in the airport and your's can only be better.

Anonymous said...

Love Podagee soup although do not like pasta in soups. I usually make it without the pasts and will user kale instead of cabbage or sometimes a combination of both. Unfortunately here on the mainland unless on happens to live on the East Coast where many Portuguese communities can be found Portuguese chourico/linguiça and Gouveia's from Hawaii have to be special ordered by mail. So we tend to make do with what is avail like Mexican chorizo or linguisa or chorizo from other Latin American cultures. Worse comes to worse the kielbasa of some sort will do but never the same. Having been raised on Gouveia's Portuguese sausages in Hawaii you would be surprised should you ever have the chance to Portugal that what is made in Portugal is far from the flavor of sausage that we love in Hawaii.