Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hawaiian Portuguese Bean soup - Mainland edition

Here is the almost real Portuguese bean soup. Why almost? It's missing the Portuguese sausage. Actually I deliberately do this, even I can pick up the sausage from United Noodles. This was the way I made it when the ingredient was not readily available in the Upper Midwest. Chorizo has been a great substitution. By adding 1 tsp of 5 spice, you get that Island flavor we so miss. I am using a cured chorizo here, it's a little smokier. You can find fresh  chorizo in the store and they are very similar to Portuguese sausage in texture. If you can get Portuguese sausage, just skip the 5 spice powder!

Another base ingredient here is ham hock, great flavor. However I am not a fan when it gets too smokey. I found a great meaty ham shank at Whole foods, it's not too smokey and without sodium nitrite. There is something magical with beans and ham hock. With such a great "marriage", I can't use canned beans in here. I know it takes a little time to cook with dried beans, this is well worth it. The beans are not going to be mushy and the meat on the ham shank is cooked thoroughly and tender. Worth every minute and energy!

Hawaiian Portuguese Bean Soup, Mainland style
1 package Chorizo - cured or fresh, or 1 Portuguese sausage if available. Sliced into 1" pieces.
1 tsp 5-spice powder - (not necessary is you are using Portuguese sausage)
1 ham shank or hock
3 cup mix dried dark red kidney beans and garbanzo beans (about 50/50)
1 large onion - chopped ( about 1/2" pieces)
2 carrots - cleaned, peeled and chopped (about 1/2" pieces)
2 stalk celery, cleaned and chopped (about 1/2" pieces)
2-3 tbsp chili powder (to taste)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can 20 oz diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 bunch of cilantro - excess stem removed and chopped.
3 bay leaves
1 cup macaroni
1/2 head cabbage, cleaned, core removed and cut into 1" pieces
Fill a medium size pot  with water to about 1/2 full. Bring to boil. Add washed beans. Stir and let it sit for about an hour.
Place chorizo pieces in a dry fry pan, render the sausage over medium heat till the sausage starts to brown. Remove the meat from the pan. Leave 1 tbsp of the grease in the pan and remove the rest
Saute the carrot, celery and onion with the sausage fat.
Add 1 tsp 5 spice powder and toast the spice lightly with the vegetable till the vegetable soften.
Transfer the vegetable to a large dutch oven, add the bean and the liquid, fried sausage pieces and the ham shank.
Add chicken stock
Add tomatoes
Add tomato paste
Then chili powder
Add bay leaves, Bring the soup to a full boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cover and let it cook for about 2-3 hours till the beans are tender
Once the beans are tender, Remove the ham shank from the soup. Separate the meat and the shank bone. Cut up the piece into bite size piece.
Add cabbage and 1/2 the chopped cilantro to the soup
Return the ham meat to the soup
Add more stock or water as needed. Need to make sure there is enough liquid for the noodle to cook.
Add 1 cup of macaroni. Bring to a boil. Cover lower heat to simmer and let it cook for additional 30 mins. Please remember to stir the soup every now and then to make sure the noodle is not sticking to the bottom
When the noodle is tender, add remaining cilantro before serving. Safe a pinch-ful for garnish.
Serve 10-12 minimum. The soup freezes very well. Separate into smaller container. When reheating, you may need to add water, check seasoning.


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