It was a good attempt, if you ask me.
There are two types of soup that you will find in diners across Hawaii. One is New England Clam chowder and the other is Portuguese Bean Soup. Maybe you’ll find Chicken Noodle Soup, but this soup is so fragrant, savory and delicious that nothing else will matter while you’re eating it.
Now, in case you are wondering why Portuguese Bean Soup is a popular dish in Hawaii, it’s probably because when the plantation economy started throughout the Hawaiian Islands (pineapple and sugarcane, but mostly sugarcane) laborers from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea and the Philippines were brought in to work the fields. The Portuguese workers (a good number of them from Madeira and the Azores) were also employed as supervisors (Because, racism) of the plantations that drove the economy for the Hawaiian Islands.
Anyway, this mixture of cultures resulted in unique cuisine- Local Hawaii Cuisine (which is different that Hawaiian food, and I’ll get to that another time) which is a an influx of the foods and traditions that were brought by the various cultures that made Hawaii their home. Portuguese bean soup, and more specifically Linguiça made a deep impact on Local Hawaii Cuisine. Linguiça is a sausage made in Portuguese or Portuguese-influenced communities that is similar to longaniza. You can find this spiced (but not spicy) sweet (but not too much) sausage on breakfast plates and breakfast menus (including McDonald’s) all across the Hawaiian Islands.
Like any recipe, Portuguese Bean Soup has many styles, I omitted some ingredients due to dietary concerns and lack of interest in others.
- 32 oz unsalted or low sodium vegetable stock
- 4 cups of water
- 1 lb of Linguiça, sliced.
- 1/2 a box of elbow macaroni
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 2 cans of red kidney beans (preferably low sodium)
- 1/2 lb of potatoes (I’m pretty sure the ones pictured are Coliban)
- 1 teaspoon of saffron
- Salt and pepper to taste
The traditional way to make the stock was to simmer ham hocks in 2 quarts of water, giving off a well flavored, meaty stock. However, since my blood pressure has been a little higher lately, I decided to omit the ham hocks and go with the vegetable stock and water instead, because there’s enough sodium in beans, sausage and salt anyway. I also omitted cabbage because well…. there’s enough beans and meat in this dish, I don’t want to have anything that might inadvertently cause me to clear out an elevator or a room.
Anyway, what I did first was start with the base (which is a variation of the traditional base). Because, the base makes things super, yes?
Refogado is the traditional flavor base for many Portuguese dishes which includes onions and garlic fried in either animal (pork) fat or oil (usually vegetable) (hat tip: Dr. Elsa D. Teixeira, Phd) and in this case, I added a green bell pepper and a carrot because I love the flavor of it and it adds a nice whiff in the air of the apartment. Then I sautéed the onions, carrots and green bell pepper in some olive oil.
In order to really maximize the flavors for this soup, I thought it would be best to brown the sausage pieces before adding them to the soup so that smoky, spiced flavor could really develop and kiki well with the other ingredients. I also threw in the saffron (expensive but fragrant!)
I need to give more practice to my knife skills…. -_-
Afterwards, the soup is pretty much as listed. Add the rest of the ingredients (water, stock, tomato sauce and beans, salt and pepper) and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes before adding the potatoes and macaroni (which you can then allow to cook until the macaroni is al dente and the potatoes are fork-tender). The longer you let the soup simmer, the better the flavors have their kiki.
As far as the finished creation goes….