Portuguese food

The food of Portugal is rich, & has a depth of intensity just like its people.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Berlotti Bean Soup - Sopa de Feijao

I've discovered soup in the last several years. I love chunky hearty soups, an all in one meal.
Soup wasn't my favorite meal as a child actually I hated it.
This soup is a favorite in many Portuguese house holds.
With the weather cool outside it's something that I make at least once a week.
Soup is one of those dishes that you can basically use any vegetables you have in your fridge.
The quantity for this soup is pretty large it feeds 6-8 people, but that's how I make my soups, in large batches so that I can have extra in the fridge during the week or it can be frozen.

  • 375g dry borlotti beans
  • 250ml olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced small
  • 1/4 cabbage savoy, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato medium, diced
  • 14 cups water
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup pumpkin, diced 2cm dice
  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 2cm  pieces
  • 1 chorizo whole, skin removed
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 bunch thyme leaves
  • 380g speck or bacon bones
  • 1x 400g tomatoes tinned, chopped
  • 4 tab parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
1. Place the borlotti beans in a large bowl & cover completely with water, cover them with cling film & leave to soak 8-10 hours or over night.

2. Drain the soaked beans & place them in a separate pot covered with water & cook on high heat for 40 minutes. Once cooked drain & refresh in cold water. DO NOT ADD ANY SALT OR THE BEANS WON'T COOK.

3. In a deep pot saute the onions & garlic, with oil on medium heat, till soft, then add the carrots, sweet potato & cook for 1 minute. 

4. Then add the chorizo, speck, bay leaves, tomatoes, thyme, water & cook for 1 1/2 hour on medium to low heat.

5. Then add the beans into the pot & cook a further 1 hour.

6. After the hour remove the chorizo, speck,bay leaves (discard these) & cut the meat into pieces, discarding any fatty bits if you like. 

7. With a hand blender pulse the soup for 15 seconds, this thickens the soup, don't over pulse, you still want chunky bits.

8. Return the chorizo, speck & the rest of the vegetables,  & cook a further 30 min on low heat stirring the soup once in a while.
At this stage you can add salt & pepper.

You may need to add extra water midway through out cooking so you have a good amount of liquid, without it being watery.  

Finish off by adding chopped parsley & olive oil (optional). 

  • Use any type of vegetables you like
  • You don't have to pulverize the soup I just find that it adds a texture I like
  • You can use canned borlotti beans instead
  • You can replace bacon bones for speck
  • When cooking any type of dried legumes add the salt only after it's cooked otherwise the skin hardens & they'll never soften & cook.
  • If you like you can substitute sweet potato with white potato


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love chunky soups too! They're so lovely and hearty! :D This looks wonderful and I like how you've used beans :)

Anonymous said...

Very nice soup, looks delicious, very rustic.

belnboo said...

Great dish,nice for the colder months

Portuguese kitchen said...

Hi Lorraine- Thanks for your comments

Hi Anonymous- Thank you

Hi belnboo- I agree very nice for the colder months