A Deliciously Tasty Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

The oldest known cooking manuscript from Portugal is Livro de Cozinha da Infanta D. Maria de Portugal. This now famous cookbook is believed to have been written by several people in the 16th century – all of them unknown. The handwritten recipes – from soup to dessert, include many popular Portuguese meat, poultry, and fish dishes.

Many Portuguese recipes have since been introduced across the globe. For example, Portuguese bean soup is one of the most popular comfort foods served on the Big Island (Hilo) of Hawaii. This bean soup recipe from Portugal takes an approach where you create the soup with everything and anything – from beans to meat to veggies and beyond.

The soup from Portugal is also one of the most popular dishes served at Honolulu’s Punahou Carnival, which is held each year in February at the Punahou School and is unlike any other Hawaiian carnival. While there are games and rides, most people come to the carnival for the Portuguese bean soup – many buy large containers to freeze to eat at a later date.

How to Make this Deliciously Tasty Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

Portuguese bean soup eats more like a stew, as it is comforting and delicious.

  • Preparation Time – 30 minutes.
  • Cooking Time – 3.5 hours.
  • Serves – 10.

Ingredients For the Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

The foundation of this bean soup/stew is smoked Portuguese sausage that is crafted with warm, inviting spices.

  • 2 Pounds Smoked Ham Hocks
    Pro-tip- This is generally equivalent to 2 or 3 ham hocks. Note that this recipe creates a deep smoky note – created by the smoked ham hocks.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 Pound of Portuguese Sausage (Chorizo or Linguinça) – Sliced Or Crumbled
    Pro-Tip – Portuguese sausage is made with pork, garlic, and seasoned paprika. It was introduced to the Hawaiian cuisine scene in the 1800s and has since become an essential component of Hawaii’s local food scene.
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion – Diced
  • 1 Large Carrot – Sliced
  • 3 Stalks of Celery – Diced
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic- Peeled & Crushed
  • 1 Large (13 Oz) Baking Potato – Peeled & Cut Into 1-Inch Cubes
  • One (14.5-Ounce) Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • One (15.5-Ounce) Can of Kidney Beans – Undrained
  • One (15-Ounce) Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 3/4 Cup of Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt – Add More If Needed
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fresh Ground Black Pepper – Add More If Needed
  • 1 Teaspoon of Store-Bought Or Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 Medium Head Green Cabbage – Cored & Chopped,
    Pro-tip – You can substitute the cabbage with one bunch of kale that is first trimmed and chopped.

Serving Suggestions for this Portuguese Bean Soup

The serving suggestions for this delicious soup include the following –

  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Piripiri Sauce
  • Portuguese Sweet Rolls
  • Cooked spaghetti noodles
  • Warm Sweet Roll
  • Sticky Rice
  • Crusty Bread
  • Cornbread
  • Garlic Bread

Cooking Directions For this Portuguese Bean Soup

This hearty soup is totally worth the effort. You can use a Dutch Oven or a large pot to create this delicious bean soup.

  • Combine the ham hocks with 3 quarts of water. Make sure the water covers the ham hocks.
  • Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat, and, after partially covering, gently simmer gently until the ham hocks start to fall apart when poked with the back of the spoon. This can take 2 to 3 hours.
  • Remove the hocks from the pot and set aside.
  • Pour the broth into a separate container. The amount of broth at this point should be approximately 2 quarts. If you need to add water, add enough to have the full 2 quarts.
  • When the ham hocks have cooled, and you can pick them up, remove the ham meat from the bones and set it aside for later.
  • Wipe the pot/Dutch oven in which the ham hocks were cooking.
  • Add the oil & heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is screaming hot.
  • Add the crumbled sausage and brown it on all sides. This should take about five minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Stir in the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic.
  • Continue cooking until the diced onion becomes soft and translucent. Stir frequently for about ten minutes.
  • Then add the reserved broth (2 quarts), the diced potato, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, macaroni, and the rest of the spices – sugar, salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Mix well.
  • Increase the heat and bring the bean soup to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and gently simmer – covered for about one hour. Stir in the reserved ham hock meat after one-half hour.
  • Stir in the cabbage and cook until it becomes slightly tender. This should take five minutes.
  • Remove the Portuguese bean soup from the heat and let it sit and cool before serving – for up to three hours. If you want, let it chill overnight in the refrigerator – it is even better.

After the Soup Has Cooled

Reheat the soup until warmed throughout. If needed, adjust the salt and pepper.


Can I freeze this tasty Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe?

This soup can be frozen if stored properly. First, cool the soup to room temperature and then put the bean soup into an airtight storage container.

Can you make this Portuguese bean soup ahead of time?

Yes! The reality is that making it ahead of time actually improves the soup. So, by all means, make it a day or so ahead of the day you plan to serve it.

Where can you find this dish in Hawaii other than once a year at the Punahou Carnival?

This beloved Hawaiian favorite is found in many local restaurants and hangouts.

  • Zippy’s – Zippy’s, which has several locations, is the perfect place to try local Hawaii dishes. They also offer takeout of their Portuguese bean soup. Zippy’s serves the soup with crackers as a side.
  • Honey Glazed Hams of Hawaii – Located in Oahu (and considered somewhat of a hidden gem), this ham shop has been in existence for as long as anyone can remember. The glazed hams they offer are amazingly delicious. And the Portuguese bean soup they make is crafted from their own smoked ham hocks.

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