Can’t make bean soup without beans. (Though if you ask Sugar, she’ll say you totally can.) Kidney beans and black-eyed peas. © 2012 Sugar + ShakePortuguese Bean Soup, like Fried Rice, is a dish that every Hawai‘i family has their own variation on. My personal version, based on my mother’s recipe, is actually more like Portuguese Bean-less Soup. However, I recently made a batch for Shake’s family, and since they lack my aversion to beans, I figured it would be unfair (and a little weird) to inflict my bean prejudice upon them, so I made a full-on bean-ful pot.

I’m the kind of girl who will pick out all the kidney beans from a bowl of chili, so when I make this soup for just Shake and me (which is a rare thing—it’s just not something in the regular repertoire; probably because Shake has to really be in the mood to eat it, and that makes me reluctant to make it since there’s no such thing as making “a little” soup) I make it with only black-eyed peas. Which are sort-of beans, but I don’t think of them that way.

Aromatics: celery, onions, garlic. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Portuguese sausage, of course. The Sugar + Shake household preferred brand: Frank’s Foods. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Shake and my mom are ham fans, so at holiday dinners, my mom often likes to make a ham, since she knows that Shake will be as enthused about it as she is. This means we end up taking home several slabs of leftover ham. To use it up, I’ll sometimes make Portuguese Bean Soup. For this batch, though, I didn’t have any ham on hand.

That turned out to be OK, though, because we discovered the new Sugar + Shake “secret ingredient” for this recipe: Frank’s Foods Smoked Pork.

The new Sugar + Shake “secret ingredient”: smoked pork, also from Frank’s Foods. © 2012 Sugar + Shake


Portuguese Bean Soup

If you’re anti-bean like me, just omit the kidney beans (the worst offenders, in my book). Note that if you use ham in place of the smoked pork, you may need to add more seasoning. Between the sausage and the smoked pork, this dish doesn’t need any additional salt or flavoring; however, plain cooked ham may need some jazzing up.

  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4 to 5 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ of a Portuguese sausage (about 6 oz.; Sugar + Shake preferred brand: Frank’s Foods), cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ¾ package Frank’s Foods Smoked Pork (about 6 oz.; or substitute cooked ham), cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 to 2 cans stewed tomatoes (depends how tomato-y you happen to like your soup)
  • Salad macaroni (Why do they call it that, anyway? I dump in several handfuls, but I have small hands…let’s call it 1 cup)
  • Water

In a large stock pot (remember, there’s no such thing as “just a little” Portuguese Bean Soup), brown the meats. You may need to do this in batches. Remove meat and set aside. Drain off most of the oil (leave a little bit for sautéing the vegetables).

Sauté garlic, celery and onions until onions turn translucent. Add meat back to the pot, along with beans and tomatoes (including liquid from the tomatoes). Break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Combine ingredients in a big pot. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Add water to completely cover ingredients. Simmer for an hour to develop flavor. (If you’re in a rush and really need to get dinner on the table, you can skip this step.) Add macaroni and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the pasta is soft.

Add a can or two of crushed tomatoes and add water to cover. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Leftover soup (and there will be leftovers) can be refrigerated or frozen.

The finished soup. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

I still think it’s better without beans.