Pot Luck Soup – Sopa de Panela

Serves 8-10

Since there is a lot of utilizing what is on hand, it could be said that with the exception of a number of soups, a Portuguese cook might never serve the same soup twice. My aunt made this “sopa de Panela” thirty years ago in my presence with what she had on hand that particular day and most likely hasn’t made it exactly the same since. If one doesn’t have a saved broth, water is the substitute most often used.

1 ounce piece of lean salt pork or 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lamb chop, all visible fat removed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium very ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped

2 ½ cups cooked kidney beans

1 large potato, peeled, roughly chopped in ½- 1- inch pieces

4-5 carrots, peeled, cooked, mashed

½ pound chouriço sausage

6 cups broth from a boiled dinner or water or combo

¼ pound fresh green beans, trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces

¼ cup elbow macaroni

1 cup roughly chopped Savoy Cabbage

Coarse salt to taste if needed (broth may have sufficient salt if it is from a boiled dinner)

  1. In a large pot, about 8-quarts add the salt pork and fry it, rendering the fat from it. When the solids are crisp remove them from the pot. If you wish, just use olive oil.
  2. Add the lamb chop, browning it in the render fat until lightly golden on both sides.Transfer to a dish and reserve.
  3. Toss in the chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent. This is called “refogado”.  Mix in the tomatoes, stir and cover tightly. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the tomato has broken down a bit and married to the onions.
  4. Mix in the beans, sausage link, chopped potatoes and the lamb chop. Pour in the broth, adding enough water if needed, to completely cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Cover tightly and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, until the potatoes are almost done, about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the mashed carrots, green beans, and chopped cabbage. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more,until green beans and cabbage are tender. If needed, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer one more minute.  Serve hot with crusty bread to dip in the broth.
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