Portuguese soup with low-fat variations
I learned how to make this soup while living in Portugal from local home cooks. Everyone had their own special way of making it. The older ladies in their skirts and aprons, the young girls sitting on the counter chattering away leaned against blue tiles called azulejo always made a beautiful scene. So classically Portuguese.
It was a complement to be summoned into the kitchen to help cook. That meant you were a good friend. We would gossip and laugh as we cooked. Usually it degenerated into a contest of funny stories, telling one another's embarrassing secrets. The Portuguese are fervent when they speak and laugh loudly and freely. Cooking was always fun. It sounded like a party to me. I felt it was an honor to help cook. Friends come into the kitchen; guests arrive when the meal is ready and wait in the living room.
This is where I learned to use a knife. I always seemed to end up peeling the potatoes. No real cook would use a potato peeler.They laughed at the thought. We always used the same sharp knife to peel potatoes, cut the vegetables and mince the garlic. I never learned the name of this soup in Portuguese, though. It was just soup (sopa). Everyone made it, it was every where.
This is a wonderful and filling soup. It can be modified to meet any number of tastes.
Basic Portuguese Soup
1-2 cloves of garlic or 1/2 to 1 Tbsp of minced garlic (add according to taste, I love garlic so I add as much as possible - 2 Tbsp.)
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced to same thickness as carrots
2 cubes of chicken bullion
Water to cover plus 1 inch.
1. Add the onion, garlic and olive oil to the soup pot, cook on medium heat until the onion is clear.
2. Add the other ingredients to pan, adding water last.
3. Cook over medium heat with lid partially covering pot until potatoes are soft. Approximately 30 minutes.
4. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Add hot water if needed.
5. Take soup off the burner. Mix with hand mixer until smooth.
Note: the soup will be orange.
6. Add salt to taste. Serve hot with rolls.
Variation #1 - chunky vegetable soup
Stop at step # 3 and serve. Some people prefer this over a pureed soup.
Variation #2 - Low Fat Portuguese Soup
1.Omit olive oil.
2. Add all ingredients in to the pot, cover with water.
Continue from step 3.
Variation # 3 Portuguese Cabbage and Sausage Soup
1. Make the basic soup recipe.steps 1-4.
2 Add 1 cup of sliced cabbage and 1/4 -1/2 lb of sliced Kielbasa, depending on taste.
3. Add 1 more cup of water to the pot.
4. Cook again on medium heat until cabbage is soft. Approximately 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the cabbage.
5. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Add hot water if needed..
6. Serve with rolls.
Variation #4 - Garnished Portuguese Soup
Before serving the basic soup, add a dollop of cottage cheese as a garnish. It looks good and tastes good.
So there they are. The soups that take me back to hot Portuguese kitchens ringing with loud jokes and screaming laughter.
I have to confess this was often this was served as a starter soup. I loved it so much, I made meals of it.