Thursday, February 9, 2012

Portuguese White Beans

One of the interesting facts about me that few people know is that I'm a quarter Portuguese. My Grandma Joyce is full-blooded Portuguese and a fantastic cook. One of the dishes she's famous for in our family is her AMAZING Portuguese beans. It's certainly one of her signature dishes and one that I absolutely love. I wanted to explore making my own batch of beans and I discovered this great recipe online at by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. I think my Grandma used pinto beans instead of white beans... but I'm sure either would be fine. This recipe is truly delicious and worth the preparation time. Chef Lagasse must have learned how to make this from his mother, who was Portuguese. It's authentic cooking.

My Tip - Add 3/4 cup of red wine and 1 can of diced tomatoes with the broth mixture.

Portuguese White Beans
by Emeril Lagasse

1 pound navy beans, washed and sorted
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 pound chorizo or linguica, sliced
2 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
4 cups water


* Place the beans in a large bowl and add enough water to cover by 3 inches. Soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans well.

* Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp and has released all of its fat, 5 to 6 minutes.

* Add the chorizo to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Using a spoon, remove any excess fat from the pan, leaving 2 to 3 tablespoons only. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika, crushed red pepper and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved beans, the chicken broth, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the beans, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until very tender, usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water if necessary to keep the beans moist yet not soupy. When the beans are very tender, season with salt, to taste, and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving. Serve the beans family style.


  1. Dear Nathan, this sounds wonderful. Emeril is one of my favorite chefs. I love all the ingredients and like your tip for adding adds a little something extra. Fantastic post! I am happy to have found your blog! Blessings, Catherine

    1. Thank you, Catherine! Isn't Emeril great?! Thank you for stopping by the blog and for the kind compliments. This recipe has become a new favorite in my household. All the best to you, Nate