Cynthia’s Portuguese Soup

Serves 2 to ~10

I use a pressure cooker (I ❤️ my Instant Pot). It speeds things up a bit and makes it easy to debone the cooked ham hocks.

Prep time is 25 minutes and cooking tIme is 2.5 hrs including heating to full pressure and releases.



In the pressure cooker, put the ham hocks in and just cover them with water. Cook at high pressure for 60 minutes then let the pressure release for 15 minutes.

While the pressure is releasing:

  1. Peel and cube the potatoes into cubes around an inch on a side
  2. Slice the linguiça into coin-sized pieces
  3. Core the cabbage and slice in medium chunks

Remove the ham hocks from the broth, and carve the meat off the bones. Cut into bite sized pieces. Return the meat to the pressure cooker. Don’t toss out the rind and bits of fat! It was good enough for my great-grandma and it’s good enough for me.

Put the potatoes, cabbage, and linguiça in the pressure cooker with the bay leaves. Cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes and then quick release the pressure.

Keep the pot at a simmer. Drain and rinse the kidney beans, add to the cooker, and heat them through. This keeps the beans firmer than if you had cooked them under pressure. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot and top with Parmesan cheese. This makes enough for Emma and me to have seconds and lots of leftovers for later. It also freezes fine.

Cynthia Gonsalves, 15 July 2018


Linguiça is found in most Bay Area and Central Valley stores. You may have to go to a specialty market or butchers in other parts of the Mainland that aren’t New Bedford or Fall River. You could substitute kielbasa and sweet paprika, but Cynthia warns, “it won’t be Portuguese!”

Cooking the cabbage in the pressure cooker will break it down. If you want crunchier cabbage, add it after the second pressure cooker cycle, bring the pot to a simmer and cook it to the desired doneness, then add the beans.

If you can’t find ham hocks, use eight ounces of ham, cubed. Use 4 cups of chicken stock, and a 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke. Add the potatoes, cabbage, linguiça, and bay leaves, and cook at high pressure for 15-20 minutes.