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Hawaiian "Portagee" Bean Soup


This rich and substantial soup is classic Island fare, drawing on its Portuguese cultural roots...and humorous prejudices (see below). I am indebted to Reiko Callner--now of Olympia, Washington, but formerly of Waimanalo--both for contributing the recipe and for stirring up memories of my 4 years in Kailua, surely the happiest years of my very happy life. Reiko and I bonded in homesickness over this recipe--and you are welcome to join us. Please note additional notes from Snow: "I think forgot the cabbage--my Kaneohe houseful puts lotsa cabbage in the soup. Also, mo' potatoes, please! My neighbor puts mushrooms in her soup. Have to say, though, anyway it cooks, it comes out great." Serve hot as a meal to 6-8 people.

A Hawaiian, a Japanese, and a Portuguese were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a Waikiki building. One day as they were eating lunch, the Hawaiian said, "Fish and Poi! If I get Fish and poi one more time for lunch Iím going to jump off this building." The Japanese opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Sushi again! If I get sushi one more time Iím going to jump off, too." The Portuguese opened his lunch and said, "Portuguese sausage and rice again. If I get a Portuguese sausage and rice one more time Iím jumping off also!"

Next day the Hawaiian opens his lunchbox, sees the fish and poi and jumps to this death. The Japanese opens his lunch, sees sushi and jumps too. The Portuguese opens his lunch, sees the Portuguese Sausage and rice and jumps to his death also.

At the funeral, the Hawaiian manís wife is weeping. She says, "If Iíd known how really tired he was of fish and poi I never would have given it to him again!" The Japanese manís wife also weeps and says, "I could have given him teriyaki or tempura!" I didnít realize he hated sushi so much." Everyone turned and stared at the Portuguese manís wife. "Hey, no look at me" she said. "Da bugga makes his own lunch!"

In a Dutch oven, sauté the sausage slices with the onions and carrots over medium heat until the onion is soft, stirring from time to time. Add the remaining ingredients--except for the beans--bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the hocks and pick off the meat, discarding the fat and bones. Mince the meat and return to the pot with the beans, juice and all. Let simmer for a few minutes, then ladle up into bowls and dig in--'ai a ma'ona. Da best!