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<strong>Portuguese Style Vegetable Soup</strong>

Portuguese bean soup is a traditional dish of Portugal made with kidney beans, Portuguese sausage, potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic. Vegetables like onions, carrots, cabbage, and peas are often added to make the soup fuller and richer. Besides Portuguese sausage, pork, beef, ham hocks, seafood, and poultry can be used in its preparation.

This soup is particularly popular in Hawaii. From 1850 to 1950, Chinese, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Japanese, Okinawan, Korean, and Filipinos workers immigrated to Hawaii to work and live on the sugar plantations. They brought recipes from their countries of origin with them, giving Hawaii a truly diverse cuisine. The Portuguese shared this hearty, delicious soup. You will find Portuguese bean soup on many Hawaiian restaurant menus, even including the Kauai airport café.

The first time I ate this soup was not in Portugal nor Hawaii, but rather just down the block from where I used to live. David Neenan made it every Christmas Eve for all the neighbors. I fell in love with this soup, and had to re-create it. My version follows. It is difficult to find Portuguese sausage, chourico, in our supermarkets, so I have substituted hot Italian sausage. If you like chorizo, it would also be a good substitute. Rather than using ham hocks, I buy ham from the deli and have it sliced into ½-inch thick slices. It is easy to cut into bite-size pieces. Deli ham is getting a little pricey, so I only purchase 1 ½ pounds for this recipe. This soup is my family’s favorite and is perfect for cold, chilly evenings. One of our favorite comfort foods!

Portuguese Style Vegetable Soup Serves 8

This is a spicy vegetable soup that is quite filling and makes a great entrée. We like to serve it with corn bread.

1 pound hot Italian sausage 1 cup white onion, chopped 1 to 2 pounds precooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces 3 medium (or 2 large) potatoes, peeled and diced 3 celery stalks, sliced 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1 can (4-ounes) chopped mild green chile peppers 1 can (11-ounces) niblet corn, drained 2 cans (15-ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 can (15-ounces) Italian-style tomato sauce 1 cup V-8® juice 1 bay leaf ½ teaspoon Tabasco® sauce ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper 6 cups water

In a large kettle, sauté Italian sausage and onion over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and onions are tender. Add ham, potatoes, celery, carrots, green chile peppers, corn, kidney beans, tomato sauce, V-8® juice, bay leaf, Tabasco® sauce, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, skim foam from the surface, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Remove bay leaf from the soup and serve in soup bowls.

Cooking tip: For the best flavor, soup should be simmered gently for several hours rather than boiled. Boiling soup can make its ingredients tough and its broth cloudy.

Cooking tip: As you finish dicing potatoes, soak them in cold water until ready to use. This keeps them from turning brown. Drain before adding to soup.

Shopping tip: Select packages of sausages that are tightly wrapped and that do not have punctures or tears. Check the “Sell-By” date. Do not buy sausages that are close dated. Some sausage labels will indicate the percentage of meat in the sausage. Buy sausages that have at least 80 percent meat product.

Storing tip: Fresh sausage, like Italian sausage, should be used within 1 to 2 days of purchase. If sausage is slimy, uniform in color, or smells putrid, it is passed its prime and should be discarded.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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