Azores Sopas

When I was growing up, Sopas was one of my favorite foods from my mom's side of the family. It's eaten during the festival of the Holy Spirit on the 7th Sunday after Easter. It's a dish that was originally used to feed the poor since it is mostly bread soup with vegetables and a little meat. It is humble food but that is what makes it so wonderful. Humble food is always the best food.

I never knew how to make it. I never asked my grandmother when she was alive. That's such a tragedy now. I wish I had cared enough back then about my family and our heritage. I wish I knew how different things would be and how much I would miss these family recipes later in life. I found this recipe on a website of Portuguese Cooking. It might not be exactly like my Grandmother made, but it's still a delicious, hearty, beef and bread stew with bread and mint. My dad hated the mint, but that's what I love most about it.

  • 3 lb bone in chuck roast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • water
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 loaf crusty bread
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  1. Salt and pepper the beef and sear in a pan with olive oil until well browned on all sides. Remove meat and add onion, garlic, tomato and spices to the pan to scrape up the browned bits.
  2. Add meat back to pan and add water until it is 3/4 covered. Place in 400 degree oven for half and hour and reduce temperature to 350 for 2 more hours.
  3. Add wine and cabbage, cut into 8ths. Continue simmering until cabbage in tender.
  4. Slice meat and serve with cabbage, thick slices of Italian bread and plenty of pan juices. Garnish with fresh mint.