Portuguese Bean Soup

2013 is coming to a close. It’s been a year of many ups and downs. I watched my daughter get married, lost my sister to Cancer, watched as my mother sinks deeper into Alzheimers, reconnected with my brother and most recently, discovered that I am to be a Grandmother for the first time. All momentous events culminated by the passage of time.

But before I can sit and contemplate the meaning of it all, I have a Ham Bone leftover from Christmas dinner to deal with.

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Every year since forever ago, I’ve made Portuguese Bean Soup for New Years Eve. I guess it started growing up in Hawaii. This is a traditional dish offered up on many occasions in the Islands. And this is my version. This hearty soup is loaded with flavor. It isn’t difficult, but it does take some time.

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I usually begin the day before by trimming my ham bone (not too closely). Put it in a large pot. Cover it with water and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for the better part of the day. I did mine for 4-5 hours.

Remove it from the heat and let it cool before straining the broth and setting it aside. Carefully pick through the meat, removing the bone and fat. Pull the meat into bite sized pieces as you go. Put it back in to the pot along with the broth. This can now go in the fridge till the next day or back on the stove.

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Gather up:

1 package Hillshire Farms Hot Link Sausage

1 large Onion

4-5 carrots ( I used some Baby Carrots I had in the fridge already)

1 28 oz can of Diced Tomatoes

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1 16 oz can Red Kidney Beans

1 16 oz can Black Beans

1 large or 2 small Potatoes.

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Slice the sausage and brown it in a frying pan. This will enhance the flavor and prevent it from getting mushy in the soup.

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Blot it on a paper towel before adding to the broth.

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Chop the Onions, Carrots and Potatoes into bite sized pieces. Add to the pot along with the Tomatoes and Beans (drain but do not rinse the beans).

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Simmer for at least 2 hours before serving.

That’s it. You don’t need salt – there is plenty in the Ham and you don’t need any other seasoning. You’ll get plenty from the sausage and the vegetables. You’ll want to make this every year!

So grab yourself a bowl of comfort while you bring in the New Year. I hope the year passing was easy on you and I hope the year to come is the best one yet!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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