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Sopa de Pão com Água do Feijão (Bread and Bean Broth Soup)

Cooking 30 min Preparation 10 min 4 easy
Recipe type: Soup Cuisine: Portuguese

If you’re not coming to Portugal for a sumptuous food tour, then follow our recipe for a taste of Portuguese cuisine at home!

Throughout Portugal, the love of soup is undeniable. Whether it’s at annual soup festivals or at shopping mall food courts, soups are heralded and everywhere! Open the fridge in any home, and you’re bound to see a Tupperware filled with it. Who needs cereal when you have homemade soup, right?

The backstory of this incredibly intimate and vivid soup conjure up images of my grandparents and their eight children crowded around the kitchen table on cold winter nights, almost entirely lit and warmed by the fiercest fireplace. The black cast iron pot my grandmother ritually used atop an open fire boiling up the beans, that when cooked were drained into a basin and reserved. My aunt abruptly stopped mid-recipe to assure I understood the value that water had to a working-poor family. “We couldn’t afford to waste anything, so the water was used for that night’s meal, to make the soup, while the beans were reserved to make other meals.” The bean broth was poured over layers of bread, sautéed onion and olive oil. And each bowl was graced with a droplet of beans; a favorite was black-eyed peas. My aunt paused and smiled, “Nobody went to bed hungry.” Their source of life, the almighty and hearty “sopa,” always came through …

If you’re looking for more recipes, check out our book on Northern Portuguese Cuisine, or book a custom Portuguese food tour with us today!


  • Bag of black-eyed peas
  • Loaf of rustic, European-style bread (day/two-old works well)
  • Large onion (or garlic)
  • 4 large bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Salt


  1. Boil the beans as instructed on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the onions and sauté in the olive oil with the bay leaves until golden; reserve.
  3. Tear apart the bread and place at the bottom of a pot/tureen. Sprinkle the bread with paprika and salt (to taste).
  4. Once the beans are boiled, drain them but save the broth (save the beans for other meals).
  5. Add the sautéed onion to the bread and cover with the bean broth.
  6. Garnish each bowl with a droplet of beans.

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