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Portuguese Bean Soup (Molho de Feijão)

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This amazingly creamy and hearty soup was one of my Vavó Olinda’s specialties! She would always make a batch of this at the same time as she made a batch of Feijão Assado (Portuguese Baked Beans). The soup would always get eaten up first and then all week long, the baked beans were there to enjoy… I’ve never been able to decide which one I prefer more, but I can tell you I love them both. My Vavó passed away in 2007, she was 93 years old and sharp as a whip and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and think about all the wonderful time we had together shopping and cooking, eating and talking, and just spending quality time with one another.  I was truly blessed to have the special connection I had with my Vavó and this is one of those recipes that brings her right back to me.  Funny how food does that.

My Vavó always referred to this soup as Molho de Feijão although many refer to it as Sopa de Feijão.  Whatever you like to call it, it’s a simple recipe really.  Under 10 ingredients, no soaking of beans, no special tools needed.  The creaminess comes from the combination of the pasta, potatoes and beans, no milk at all. A bowl of this soup and a nice fresh Portuguese Pop-seco bread roll is all you need for a hearty lunch or even dinner.  It freezes beautifully, so I highly suggest making the full batch even if it is too much for your size family.

Here is your bag of beans. Any white bean will do it, but my Vavó always prefered the smallest bean available.

I wash the beans twice… The first rinse in a strainer just to get out any dirt that might be left behind.

Then I get a pot going with some water…

Pour the beans in…

and agitate them with my hand to reveal any stray pebbles or bad beans, I pick them out and carefully pour the water out leaving the beans in the pot… The water usually takes with it anything I missed in the first rinsing.

Then I fill the pot again with water and set over high heat on the stove.

While the pot is starting to heat up on the stove, I chop up one onion into a fairly small dice.

Add that onion into the pot.

Crush, peel and mince two cloves of garlic.

Crush, peel and mince two cloves of garlic.

Then add that into the pot.

Bring the water to a boil and cover and turn the flame down to the point where the water is at a gentle boil. DO NOT ADD SALT.

While the pot is set to simmer for a couple of hours you can prepare your ingredients… 5-6 potatoes.

Peeled and washed.

Peeled and washed.

Diced into a relatively small dice.

1/2 lb. of chouriço. This is hot Portuguese Chouriço.

Peel and slice.

After a couple of hours on the stove, this is what you get… Do not stop boiling until your beans are to this point of tenderness. If you look closely you will see many of them are starting to bust open.

At this point you can add salt.

Add in your potatoes.

Add in your chouriço.

Add in a couple of tablesspoons of ground red pepper. BE CAREFUL here. I put in a couple of tablespoons because as you can see, my pepper is mostly lacking seeds, if you have a spicier version of this pepper, reduce the amount, more can always be added at the end, but once it’s there, you can’t take it away. Stir this all together and cook for about a half hour until the potatoes are fork tender.

Now add in your pasta and stir. My Vavó loved the small shells in this soup, and so that is what I am using today. However, you could also use a Dilatini. Something short and hearty, but still fine. An elbow is a bit too much.

You want to over cook the pasta here… this is not a place for al-dente… After about another half an hour, this is what you should see…

Add in half a small can of tomato sauce. Taste for salt and you are done.

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Portuguese Bean Soup (Molho de Feijão)

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

1 16oz. package dry white Navy Beans, rinsed and picked through

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves, garlic, crushed and minced

1/2 lb. Hot Portuguese Chouriço, peeled and sliced

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled, diced

1/2 package small shells pasta

1/2 8oz. can tomato sauce

2 Tbs. ground red pepper (wet)

1 Tbs. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Directions:

Fill a large pot about 3/4 with water.  Add in dry beans, onion and garlic.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 -2 hours until beans are very tender.  Most of your water will have evaporated, refill the water.  Add in chouriço, potatoes salt and red pepper.  Bring back to a boil and cover,  cook for about 30 more minutes until potatoes are good and tender.  Add in pasta, cook for an additional 30 minutes.  Add in tomato sauce and taste for salt.  Serve with  fresh bread… Enjoy!

*Note – a gluten free adjustement for this recipe is to either simly omit the pasta or use a gluten free pasta, it will be just as delicious!