Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup

Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup


So far, this week's jam has been: Christmas lights on first thing, plaid pajamas till noon, Christmas music (Moses is still indulging me), and all the cozy things. Like socks and hot cocoa and matcha lattes and soups. Also, pumpkin pie and ice cream in the middle of the day just because. And I get it, today's only Tuesday, so maybe this won't be an all week thing, but I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that all this goodness didn't end yesterday. How have the holidays been treating all of you?

Did you get a lot of presents? Maybe one of those egg hatching things I've been seeing all over social media, gah, I felt like I was about 60 saying that just now but what are they really called?! Moses and I opened exactly two presents each on Christmas, Vienna opened one, and we called it a really good day. We feasted on homemade cinnamon rolls and giant, overstuffed (we got greedy) breakfast burritos, and almond-mac nut milk lattes. We debated what the ultimate Christmas movie is, Miracle on 34th Street got my vote, with Love Actually coming in a close second--I mean I did watch it three times this year, while Moses insisted that A Christmas Story is the be-all-end-all. Guys, end this for us, what is THE Christmas movie? In between burritos and debates, we snacked on pumpkin pie and this (!!!) soup before heading over to our friend's Christmas dinner! Pretty much the best day ever.  

And because maybe you're not familiar with Portuguese bean soup, is it a thing everywhere else, not just Hawaii?, I'll give you the lowdown. This soup is the bomb dot com. It really is. It's such a cozy comforting soup, packed with all sorts of goodness. Typically it's loaded with lots of Portuguese sausage (called linguica on the mainland), meat from a ham hock, spices and aromatics, kidney beans, taters, lots of tomatoey goodness, and cabbage.

I'm a little ashamed to admit this, because it probably makes me a bad Maui girl, but I don't love the Portuguese sausage in Portuguese bean soup, so I've eliminated it in my own personal batch, but will include it below in case you'd like to get the proper, traditional, Hawaiian style experience. And I'm also super into kale in my soups vs. cabbage, so I've swapped it in for the typical cabbage, but again, if you're going for authentic, try the cabbage! Please note, this is the way we make our soup, but like most recipes in Hawaii, every family has their own secret recipe. What else do you need to know... hmmm. Always, always, always serve this up with piping hot white rice, and don't try to scale down the recipe because it's so good, you're gonna want leftovers. Oh and this soup is totally perfect for the holidays, so if you wanted to make it today, or tomorrow, or the day after that, I'd fully support and high five that decision. :D


Serves 8-10


  • 8 oz. dried kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 lb. uncured, smoked ham hock
  • 1 lb. Portuguese (liguica) sausage
  • 8 - 10 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole dried star anise
  • 3 whole dried cloves
  • 1 sweet or white onion, cubed
  • 1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 c. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 5 small carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 - 2 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bunch dino (Tuscan) kale, destemmed and cut into bite sized pieces or 1/2 a medium green cabbage, cored and chopped


  • Large french/dutch oven or heavy bottomed with lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Spider or skimmer
  • Sharp knife


  1. The night before you make this soup, rinse then soak kidney beans in cold water (aka overnight soak), making sure there's at least 2 inches over water covering the beans.
  2. Place ham hock, Portuguese (linguica) sausage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves in a large french or dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot (make sure it has a lid) and add enough water to cover the hock (I used 5 cups of water). Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to low, place lid on the pot, and simmer for an hour or until the meat on the hock is tender.
  3. Next remove the ham hock and place on a cutting board (lined with paper towels to absorb water), and skim out everything with a spider or a skimmer, except the Portuguese sausage, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Add the onion, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, and kidney beans (rinsed and drained) and continue simmering. Remove the meat from the hock and cut into bite-sized pieces before adding back to pot. 
  4. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, and simmer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender. If you feel like you need more liquid, add in boiling hot water, as necessary. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then add in kale or cabbage and simmer, with the lid on, for 5-10 minutes or until the kale or cabbage is tender. 
  5. Serve and enjoy over hot white rice!

PS - If you're as obsessed as I am with the beautiful Staub Essential French Oven featured above, you should probably pop over to Food52. It's currently on sale and is exclusive to them! Happy holidays to YOU!

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