My Portuguese Family and a Sopa Recipe!

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by Megan on August 17, 2010

My hubby is the 5th and final child of a woman who belongs to a very large Portuguese family.

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay

Last weekend all the siblings and their spouses got together in Bodega Bay, to celebrate the 91st birthday of their lovely  mother, Isabel.

Portuguese FamilyOur first night brought us all together at the dining table for a dinner, Portuguese Style!

Portugese DinnerWe all brought Portuguese dishes,  and indulged in Portuguese wine. And we had the best view!

FamilyWe played a game where we guessed Portuguese words, pulled out old photos, and looked through an updated  book of the family history.

Fava Bean Crostini

Fava Bean Crostini

Salt Cod Balls

Salt Cod Balls

It was a very fun night with good food, free flowing wine, and wonderful company. I love these family parties!

"Dry" Shrimp Soup

Acorda de Mariscos or "Dry" Shrimp Soup

Turning to the internet for a Portuguese recipe that I could bring, I had a few ideas rattling around in my noggin. When discussing them with The Hubby, he informed me that he would like to take Sopas.   When he was younger, he always had them at the Portuguese Festivals that his dad would take him to.

Bodega BayI hate when he puts a kink in my planning but this time I was glad he did.

Bodega Bay

I have only made them once before but I never really got to taste them. You see, right before that dinner, I had a gall bladder attach and I never made it to the dinner table that night. So I was a little intimidated to make these for a  family who all knew what they were suppose to taste like, when I had no clue.

Portugese Family

Sopa is a Portuguese soup that is poured over a thick slice of day old bread and served with fresh mint. Tomato based, it’s flavored with the warm spices of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cumin. Except in upscale restraints, beef in Portugal is not of the very best quality and is usually shoe leather tough; at least according to the cookbook,  The Food of Portugal. Most of the country’s people actually prefer pork, chicken, and seafood. My recipe, made with beef chuck, it simmers on the stove for about 3, maybe 4 hours until tender, and it makes the house smell like a home!


Sopa de Bife

I pulled from two different recipes and came up with my own! A little bit thicker then the original sopas that the family remembers, but a little beef broth to thin it  could have fixed that. But my family liked it just the way it was.

Queijadas de Sintra

Queijadas de Sintra

Of course no dinner party is complete unless there is dessert. We had plenty.

My favorite? The Queijadas!

The Queijadas de Sintra is a cheese tart that was initially sold by street vendors in Sintra, a lush little town about 15 miles from Lisbon, Portugal. Originally, they were bite size tarts made with Queijo fresco, a smooth white sheep milk cheese that’s unavailable here in the states, but this recipe uses a fresh mozzarella. You would never even know there was cheese in this tart. It was unbelievably good. My SIL let me borrow her cookbook so I have the recipe and I cant wait to make it!

Here’s the recipe for Sopas. Think you want  the  Queijadas recipe???

Portuguese Family

The End!


Recipe by Megan’s Cookin’

  • 2- 3 lbs chuck roast w/bone
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 32 oz can dices tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons allspice or 10 allspice berries
  • 1  teaspoon cloves or 10 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2  inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • 4-5 stems with leaves of fresh mint
  • Thick sliced, day old French or Italian Bread (*see note)

Put roast in a Dutch oven and fill with water until roast is 3/4 covered up the sides.  If using whole spice, tie them up in a piece of cheese cloth or put into a tea strainer. Add all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours or until meat easily shreds.

To serve:  Shred the beef right in the pan with all the juices.  Slice crusty  Italian or French bread and place in soup bowls.  Place bruised mint leaves on top of the bread. Ladle the meat and broth over the bread.  Garnish with fresh mint and enjoy.

*Note:It is important that the bread is day old (hard), as this helps to prevent it falling apart and becoming mush once the sopa is poured over it.

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Columbia Crest Wine Pairing Dinner
August 29, 2010 at 2:53 pm

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 April August 18, 2010 at 5:01 am

It looks like you had so much fun! Great food and company, and the view!! What a way to celebrate!

2 Kris August 18, 2010 at 6:08 am

“Ok, little jealous…Can you send me the pic of my mom and Grandma? The food looked Fabulous but I was not invited.:( I love the end picture. You did a great job!!!:)

3 Kim August 18, 2010 at 6:14 am

“Great job! And yes, a little jealous here also. I’m glad all went well and you all had fun. Too bad you didn’t find Mark S.! Thanks for the recipe. :)

4 Megan August 18, 2010 at 6:16 am

Hi Kim, We might not have found Mark S. but we sure had fun looking! :)

5 Claudia August 18, 2010 at 6:43 am

Isabel is just stunning as is the entire family. What a glorious time – and you missed it? So sorry. I adore soup and just want to embrace it. And yes, I’d take the recipe for all from the fava crostini through dessert.

6 Megan August 18, 2010 at 6:43 am

Hi Kris, I got the idea of the last pic from that photo of the kids hanging in the house. I got a new camara and no one was safe. :) Yes, I’ll send you the pic of your mom. Sorry you weren’t invited this time. Ya had to be a sibling! Next year!!! I missed you tho!

7 Megan August 18, 2010 at 6:46 am

Oh no, Claudia, I didn’t miss it. My nieces did. :(

8 Brenda August 18, 2010 at 7:29 am

I’m married to a Portuguese man (born in the Azores) and his Mom makes this soup all the time! In fact she just made it last night, lol! Great recipe!

9 stephchows August 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

OMG she is amazing! What a fantastic lady :)

10 Bridgett August 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

I just love Bodega Bay and the house looks like it has a spectacular view. The food must have been amazing. What a perfect celebration.

11 Chez Us August 18, 2010 at 9:25 am


Great way to celebrate a 91st birthday. Not only are the views beautiful but the fact that the family came together for this celebration of life. Lenny is Portuguese (1st generation). I cannot wait to show him your delicious post – he will be so jealous!

12 Faith August 18, 2010 at 10:36 am

It looks like you guys had a lot of fun. Great food too! What more can anyone ask for? Your monther in law seems to be a very nice lady.

13 Barbara @ moderncomfortfood August 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I thought my family’s Southern-style feasts were pretty delicious, but I think I might rather be Portuguese after reading your post! I’m with your hubby on the attractions of sopas, and am going to double-bookmark your recipe (just to be safe) so I can make it when the weather cools off here. Great post. Yum!

14 Chaya August 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Happy Birthday to Isabel. 91 is the new 70.

That sopa looks delicious. It is a good winter soup. It is too hot, these days for a filling soup. I am into salads. When the weather turns, this will be great.

What a beautiful family and it is wonderful that you could get together to celebrate.

15 Amanda August 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

First of all, what a fun get together, and gorgeous view too! I know exactly how you feel when you say you were nervous making something that THEY know what it’s supposed to taste like, I know what you mean! I made something for some Greek friends I had never made before and it was a hit, but boy was I nervous! Love your sopa recipe!

16 5 Star Foodie August 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm

What a terrific and delicious feast! Thanks for sharing the sopas recipe too!

17 Candy August 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Can I be a part of your family too? All the dishes look sooooo good. The sopas looks like a Croatian beef stew dish I had when I went on my honeymoon with similar ingredients.

18 Winnie August 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Great post Megan!!! Everything looks truly fantastic, and I really love the recipes and photos!

19 Suzanne Collier August 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Isn’t family what it is all about! Your MIL looks wonderful and what a beautiful family. Your pictures make me wish I had hopped a ride in your luggage! This is definitely going to be on our must have list! Thanks for the family history and the wonderful meal!!!!

20 Kerstin August 18, 2010 at 8:09 pm

What an amazing spread and fun celebration! Glad you had such a good time :)

21 Barbara Bakes August 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

How fun! The sopas sounds like yummy comfort food. So who’s gorgeous house with the beautiful view were you at?

22 Katrina August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Great post. Love all the photos.

23 Barbara | VinoLuciStyle August 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Sounds so delicious, the epitomy of comfort food. I make a revised version of Cincinnati chili with similar spices…just love the unique flavor they add.

What a great celebration and yes, I would love the dessert recipe. We’ve been buying Queijo fresco a lot lately; it’s become my cheese of choice for a grilled cheese sandwich with fresh tomatoes.

24 CookiePie August 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm

What a beautiful family and lovely get-together! And the food — the food looks spectacular!

25 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme August 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Yum. What’s not to like in that recipe! Looks like you and your family had a wonderful time and I would never have guessed that your mother-in-law was 91!

26 norma August 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm

What a wonderful time you had. Yes, I wan the the recipe for the Queijadas de Sintra. I also have the same cookbook. 91 and she looks terrific. Thanks for sharing. I just love family get togethers.

27 Megan August 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm

It is my sister in law’s vacation home. It’s a vacation rental home so if your interested in renting, I know who to call! ;) Comes with a hot tub!

28 Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog August 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Having Brazil as neighborhood I’m familiarized with similar Portuguese recipes.
Glorious photos of the family and the queijadas! Omg! I need an Oporto wine right now :)



29 Krista August 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm

She doesn’t even look close to 91! The scenery is beautiful and this soup sounds crazy good!

30 Natasha August 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Wow- what a beautiful family. I thouroghly enjoyed reading and veiwing your photos, very heart warmng :) Gorgeous food and wine too!

31 shelly (cookies and cups) August 22, 2010 at 6:12 am

I wanna be part of the family :)
The view is amazing and the food looks even better!

32 Megan @ The Fresh Fridge August 23, 2010 at 5:07 am

Wow, 91 years old that is great! Your family looks so fun! The sopa looks delicious! Once the cooler weather starts making its way in, this is on my list to keep us warm!

33 Nutmeg Nanny August 25, 2010 at 8:56 am

What a great family gathering! All the food looks delicious and I’m pretty sure I would enjoy it all :)

34 Lori September 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I love this recipe and the flavors that are in it!

And let me think- do I want that recipe- ah, yeah! If anyone holds a recipe back from me or hints about it- it always makes it so much more enticing.

35 Hortensia Silva February 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

I loved your recipe. I am not portugese, my husband is and he loves sopas!!!! I also know that he would like your Queijadas de Sintra recipe, if possible
Thank you

Hortensia Silva

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