|Portuguese Bean Soup for the Soul - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Portuguese bean soup is like chicken soup for Hawaii -- every recipe is different, but it's one of those dishes that everyone knows how to make. Hawaii was like the Ellis Island for the West Coast back in the day, so there's a variety of different food cultures that were assimilated into island cuisine. The Portuguese played a big part in a lot of the common foods, in both sweet and savory offerings. This soup is basically a tomato-based broth that slowly cooks down root vegetables, linguica sausage, a ham bone or hock of some sort, and yes of course, beans. Chunks of cabbage are also added towards the end to wilt in the thickened soup, as if the lentils weren't enough to get the body singing a little tune.
Inexpensive cuts of meat and common root vegetables -- this soup is a poor man's meal, but rich with flavor and familiarity. My mother cooked up a big pot of it during my visit, but weeks before I saw them, I cooked up a batch on my own. I used a ham bone I had been saving in the freezer from the holidays, threw in all the leftover root vegetables that were sitting in the crisper, and substituted Swiss chard for cabbage. Granted, it never tastes the same or as good as what Mom makes, but the slow cooker made quick work of it and like all soups and stews, the flavors continued to develop in the leftovers.
On cold, blustery Northwest days, this is the best thing to tuck into to shake off the chill. My parents love to have this soup on one of their brisk sixty-degree days of island living. Which to that, I throw on another pair of wool socks, wrap a blanket around my shoulders already covered in three layers of clothing, and wonder how the heck sixty degrees could be considered "cold."
|The Prime's Version of Portuguese Bean Soup - Photos by Wasabi Prime|