Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sopa de Acelga Suíça e Feijão Branco com Linguiça

Portuguese Soup of Swiss Chard and White Beans with Linguica Sausage!

     This is a very nice tasting Portuguese soup entree!  The reason that I call this a soup entree is because when this soup is serve with bread, it becomes a filling hearty meal.  The flavor of this soup is not overburdened with spices and herbs,  It does not have to be!  The aromatic vegetables, Swiss chard, coriander, cilantro and sausage produce volumes of flavor when combined!
     Swiss chard and white bean soups are popular nearly everywhere in southern europe.  Italians, Spanish and Portuguese cuisines all offer great Swiss chard and white bean recipes.  There are many variations of chard and bean soups.  Many add chicken to the recipe.  Sausage often is added.
     Portuguese linguica sausage can be considered to be the equivalent of Spanish longaniza sausage.  There are many regional and local variations in the recipes for these two sausages.  Many types of Spanish longaniza are exactly the same as Portuguese linguica.  In fact, they can be interchangeable.  Other varieties of these two sausages are completely different.  Chorizo is a spicier sausage and it is more heavily seasoned than longaniza or linguica.  Linguica is usually a mildly spiced sausage.
     You can buy fresh mild longaniza sausage for this recipe and call it linguica.  Both sausages are the same thing.  Linguica can be hard to find, if there is no Portuguese markets nearby.  Dry cured longaniza cannot be served as linguica.  Those two sausages are completely different!  Chorizo would be okay in this recipe, but the flavor may end up being overbearing.
     This soup is made in the style of Spanish and Portuguese cauldron or caldera style soups.  No stirring is necessary.  The temperature is temporarily raised after the addition of ingredients, so the cooking process takes hold quicker.  After the brief raise in temperature, the soup reverts back to a simmering temperature, so the flavors can meld.   This style of cooking produces a flavorful broth! 

     Sopa de Acelga Suíça e Feijão Branco com Linguiça:
     This recipe makes one large bowl of soup, like the bowl in the pictures above!
     Cook a 5 to 6 ounce piece of fresh linguica sausage or longaniza sausage in boiling water or in a 300 degree oven, till it is fully cooked.  
     Cool the sausage in a refrigerator, so the sausage gels solid.  (This will prevent the sausage from crumbling when it is cooked in the soup!) 
     Cut the sausage into bite size slices.
     Heat a pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 tiny handful of chopped onion.
     Add 1 tiny handful of sliced celery.
     Add 1 tiny handful of carrot slices that are cut in half.
     Add the sausage slices.
     Saute till the vegetables start to become tender and till the sausage pieces lightly brown.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 2 Imported canned Italian or Spanish whole seeded plum tomatoes that are cut into thick strips.
     Saute till the tomato and garlic becomes fragrant.
     Add 3 1/2 cups of light chicken broth.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 3 pinches of coriander.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish paprika.
     Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     As soon as the soup comes to a gentle boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer the soup, till the vegetables become tender and till the flavors meld.  (About 20 minutes)
     Add 1/2 cup of rinsed cooked white beans or rinsed canned white beans,
     Wash 5 to 7 medium size Swiss Chard leaves.
     Trim the tips of the leaf stalks.
     Cut the stalks into bite size pieces.
     Add the Swiss Chard stalk pieces to the soup,
     Cut the Swiss Chard leaves into 2" wide slices.
     Add the sliced leaves to the soup.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro leaves and stems.
     Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     As soon as the soup comes to a gentle boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.  
     Add a little more chicken broth, if the level looks a little bit low.
     Gently simmer the soup, till the Swiss Chard becomes tender.  (About 5 to 10 minutes)
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Ladle the soup into a bowl.
     No garnish is necessary. 

     Its funny how just a few ingredients can create a very aromatic great tasting Portuguese soup!   Only coriander, cilantro, a little paprika and bay leaf season the broth.  The rich flavor of the sausage and Swiss Chard combines with the broth to create a very tasty aroma and flavor.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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