Welcome to Tumbleweed Tidings on this Monday after Easter. I hope all of you had a wonderful Holy Week and Easter Day.
And now, I have a question for you. If you have leftover ham from Easter dinner, please raise your hand.
I thought so! I see so many hands in the air, including mine, and today I will give you some ideas to help use up some of those ham leftovers.
Have you ever noticed how we are a “nation of soups?” Vermont has their Corn Chowder. New England has Clam Chowder. The southeast has She Crab Soup. Down south, they love their Gumbo, the southwest has chili and Chicken Tortilla Soup. New York has Manhattan Clam Chowder. Asian neighborhoods and cuisine have brought us even more to love with Saimin, Egg Drop, Wonton, and Pho soup varieties. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
We American’s love our soup! But did you know that Hawaiian locals have a soup unique to them that they love? It’s call Portuguese Bean Soup, and it is an island favorite. It was first brought in from, you guessed it, the Portuguese when they came to work in the pineapple and sugar cane fields. Since then, it has been on menus throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and is delicious way to use up leftover ham!
To begin, you will need the basic soup vegetables of celery, carrot and onion, all diced. In addition, this recipe calls for a potato, and canned diced tomatoes and kidney beans. It also contains shredded cabbage. In other words, it is a vegetable powerhouse.
The ingredient that makes Portuguese Bean Soup so unique is the addition of the Portuguese Sausage. This is readily available in Hawaii grocery stores, but a good substitute on the mainland is a smoked sausage or Kielbasa. Typically, this is finely diced and can be as spicy or mild as your personal preference dictates. For my recipe, I used smoked sausage with cheddar cheese from Costco and it worked great.
The next ingredient of protein is the diced ham. When I made this soup recently, it was before Easter, so I used a ham hock. But if you have leftover ham from Easter, this soup has your name written all over it.
After sauteing all the vegetables in olive oil and butter, add the ham hocks, canned beans and tomatoes, 1 Tbsp chopped basil, and two bay leaves. Cover with a half and half mixture of chicken or vegetable stock and water. Let simmer for two hours, then the uncooked pasta and cabbage. Let cook for another half hour.
To finish, salt and pepper to taste and remove the bay leaves. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and pair with a salad and roll for a hearty, tasty meal.
Over the years, I have posted about other ways to use ham, so here is a link for a couple of other recipes that I think you will enjoy A Tale of Two Soups.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this soup idea for using us leftover ham. During our years in Hawaii, it was one of our favorite soups, and would show up at most neighborhood potlucks. I think you will love it!
Here is the recipe for you to use when you make this yummy Hawaiian favorite: