Sunday, November 12, 2017

Maria’s Portuguese Soup: the perfect cold remedy #mystery #recipe #giveaway


Please welcome our good friend and colleague, R.J. Harlick to Mystery Lovers Kitchen today! This is not her first visit and she always delivers a great post. R.J. is not only a talented writer, but also a whiz in the kitchen.  Some of us know that first hand! Today’s recipe makes the most of the fall season and ties in beautifully to R.J.’s latest book, Purple Palate for Murder.   Make sure you read to the end to find out about the TRIPLE giveaway today.  How's that for suspense!

Here's R.J. with her sidekicks Sterling and Molly!

Maria’s Portuguese Soup: the perfect cold remedy

The wind has blown away the last of the Fall leaves and the frost has killed the basil left forgotten in the garden. Inside her Victorian timber cottage, Meg Harris is hunkered down on the sofa, wrapped in a duvet. She has the sniffles. Her throat is so sore she can barely swallow and she can’t stop shivering. All she wants to do is lie in front of the fire licking at the glass of the stone fireplace and feel sorry for herself.  She’d like to stretch her legs out, but she can’t.  Shoni, her silver-haired standard poodle, is curled up on the other end of the chesterfield with his head resting on her feet. But that’s okay. Meg likes the dog’s comforting presence.

Eric, her husband, has promised the perfect pick-me-upper. For the last hour, he has been in the kitchen, a room that is more his domain than Meg’s. She’s been listening to him belt out Bobcaygeon, off-key. The first time he made her the cure-all soup, he vowed it would have her dancing around the room. Though it hadn’t exactly got her moving, it had warmed her up nicely with its soothing chicken broth, healthy kale and spicy chorizo sausage. It was the name though that had raised her eyebrows, Maria’s Portuguese Soup.  He’d merely chuckled when she’d asked him about Maria. This time she decided not to worry about Maria and simply enjoy the soup.

Preferring to go by the seat of his pants, so to speak, Eric doesn’t like to use formal recipes, so he reluctantly agreed to write it down for Meg with the proviso that next time he’s bound to fiddle with both the ingredients and the measurements. What could Meg do? She doesn’t cook.
And she did notice that he had managed to sneak in some chopped leeks to this version of Maria’s soup despite no mention of it in his recipe. “With your nose blocked up, you need an extra punch to the flavour,” he said, ladling out a steaming bowlful.

He still refused to say who Maria was. But you know what, R.J. who wasn’t really a part of this conversation, knows. She will tell all after you have cooked the soup.

Maria’s Portuguese Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings

¼ c, chopped pancetta
2 tbsp.olive oil
1 medium onion
5-7 leaves of kale
1-2 medium sized carrots
1 stalk celery
1 19 oz can navy beans – drained
1 c. diced tomatoes
5 oz -  smoked chorizo sausage or Portuguese sausage
6-8 c. chicken stock – salt free
1 bay leaf
fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground cumin

1.      Fry up chopped pancetta in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the fat is rendered. The pancetta adds a nice flavor to the soup

        When it begins to turn brown, remove from the pot leaving the rendered fat behind and drain on paper towel for later use – it can be added to the soup.
3.      Add the olive oil to the rendered fat.
4.      Chop the onion, add to the heated oil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
5.      Remove the woody stems from the kale and chop the remaining leafy part crosswise into 1-2 inch strips.

6.      Add kale to the onions and cook for 3 minutes or until the kale has wilted. Stir occasionally. Kale needs to be cooked thoroughly by the time the soup is finished.
7.      Chop the carrots and celery and add to the onion/kale mixture and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Slice the chorizo into bite-size pieces and add it to the mixture.

  Add the drained navy beans and diced tomatoes.

        Add the chicken stock, bay leaf and a few sprigs of fresh thyme and bring to boil and turn heat down to medium.
1    Cook for 15-20 minutes with the lid partially on the pot.  Stir occasionally.
      The soup will be done when the carrots are cooked

        Add cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and the cooked pancetta (if desired) and let sit with the lid on for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to richen.
       Remove the bay leaf and the thyme.
1   Serve with your favorite bread.
1   Enjoy

R.J. here.  Maria is a long time friend who has been helping me keep my house beautifully clean for more than thirty years. She immigrated to Canada from the Portuguese Azores with her husband over fifty years ago. They have had a long and prosperous life here in Canada raising three children and are now surrounded by many grandchildren. Though she loves her adopted country and would never return to Portugal to live, she still has a fondness for her islands and things Portuguese, including food. Through her I discovered that kale is a staple of Portuguese cooking. She gave me this recipe, which I have embellished somewhat. Much like Eric, I can’t leave a recipe alone. I have to add my own touch.

Called “the queen of Canadian wilderness fiction” RJ Harlick, writes the popular Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of West Quebec. Like her heroine Meg Harris, RJ loves nothing better than to roam the forests surrounding her own wilderness cabin or paddle the endless lakes and rivers. But unlike Meg, she doesn’t find a body at every twist and turn, although she certainly likes to put them in Meg’s way. While most of the action takes place close to her Three Deer Point Victorian cottage, occasionally Meg travels to other Canadian wildernesses. In the latest and eighth book,  Purple Palette for Murder, Meg travels to Canada’s Far North to the Northwest Territories in a desperate attempt to prove her husband innocent of murder.

R.J. and her publisher DUNDURN are generously offering 3 books for a giveaway.  US and Canada only.

Keep up with R.J. and her writing:  Her website is

You can find her on FACEBOOK or on Twitter  @RJHarlick

Have fun! Happy reading and happy eating. 


  1. Welcome, RJ! Great recipe; and I would love to read this fabulous-sounding book.

  2. I have to say, I'm pretty enamored with this post. I was not familiar with RJ's work, so I was confused with the characters in the first part. But then getting to the end where she explained who Maria was, and then learning about her book series, it was such a clever blog post! I'd love a chance to read some of her work!

  3. A very warm and comforting soup for cold weather months. Thanks for the chance to win :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  4. The soup sounds wonderful! I would love to read the book. Dspinlexo at aol dot com

  5. A new hearty soup recipe is welcome addition to my repertoire as the days get colder. Thanks for sharing. And a Purple Palette for Murder is a great read! I would love to win my own copy.
    grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

  6. Ahhh, soup and a new book to read, the perfect way to spend a cold afternoon! I would love to win and I definitely plan to make the soup.

  7. I'm ready to venture up to the wilds of western Quebec. Tired of the heat! Both soup and mystery are very alluring.

  8. The soup would be soothing. Your setting and locale for your books are familiar and wonderful. They sound memorable and special.Being Canadian they interest me greatly. Thanks for your great recipe and lovely giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. I appreciate soup during the fall and winter. I grew up in Mtl. and know Canada well. Your novel sounds captivating and intriguing. Love your photos on your website. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  10. I have both Chorizo and Cajun Andouille sausage in my freezer. I use only one of them at a time mixed with sweet Italian Sausage when I improvise a dish. I think for a soup like that I'd prefer going with a Moroccan soup I used to get at a restaurant called Mamma's in the Sephardi section of Brooklyn. I'd also have to use Kosher Beef Fry instead of Pancetta (not available in Kosher form).

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I’d like to read more about Canada. I’ve visited a few places in the East and West, but there is a lot more to discover. suefoster109 at gmail dot com.

  13. Please enter me. I have not heard of this series, but love to try new ones.

  14. I'm so excited to learn about R. J. Harlick and her Meg Harris mysteries. I loved my visit to Quebec & seeing the province has made me want to read stories set there. Thanks for posting the Portuguese soup recipe. It has all of my favorite things plus one I haven't experienced yet--kale!

  15. THis soup sound sounds good.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  16. This is a great "Good for what ails you" soup that I enjoy every fall and winter. The mystery series sounds like a fun read.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  17. That recipe sounds fabulous! I'd love to read this! Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com.

  18. Thanks for another soup recipe to add to my cold winter food collection. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  19. Welcome! This sounds wonderful! Being from the south, I wonder if collard greens could be subbed instead of kale . . . hmmmm moodiesmum at yahoo dot com.

  20. A warming soup that cures whatever ails you. Perfect.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  21. I love soup when the weather is cold (almost as much as I love to read!) Would love to win, I'm always looking for a "new" favorite author!

  22. I am so so happy you posted this my foster mother used to make this all the time. It was one of the things that they fed us that I liked. She has passed and I never knew what it was now I know and I can make it for my husband. He will not believe I found the recipe of the soup that I have been talking about! Thank you so much for posting this .

  23. This soup looks amazing. Perfect for any time of year. Thanks for sharing it, the information and a chance to win. kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

  24. The book sounds great, and the soup looks amazing. Thank you for this chance! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

  25. A new soup recipe to try during the cold winter months and a new-to-me author to try, too---what more could I ask for?? Thanks for the giveaway, too--maybe I'll be lucky.

  26. New book. New author. New recipe. Definitely interested. The blurb looks great! Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  27. This soup sounds great! It's been so cold here so I've been on the lookout for new soup recipes!

  28. So glad to discover a new author. I really enjoyed the description of the book and I'm looking forward to reading it. The soup sounds like a great Fall recipe, will give it a try.

  29. What a wonderful Sunday to discover a new author and book, besides an excellent recipe for such a delicious looking soup Thank you for hosting R.J. Harlick. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  30. The recipe looks amazing. Thank you for that and the opportunity to win a book.

  31. You just brought back memories of my grandmother who was Portuguese!! During the winter we always had kale soup with fresh, warm, French bread!! I've missed this. It was a bowl of love! Thank you for bringing up this wonderful memory. She has been gone nearly 25 years now. Meg85242 at gmail dot com. ❤

  32. Yum! Thanks for this soup recipe. We make our own chicken bone broth, so this sounds like a delicious way to fancy it up a bit. I have recently been reading Louise Penny books set in Canada. I’d enjoy more Canadian mysteries. Will look for your early books at the library. Lldawnjm (at) gmail (dot)com. Thanks!

  33. I also love to tweak recipes and make them my own. Thank you for the chance to win.

  34. In the city in which we lived previously, there were many Portuguese people and I now have many wonderful Authentic recipes from my friends because of that. We love Portuguese soup and grew very fond of Linguica in my soups.
    Thank you for a trip down memory lane.
    Cynthia B.
    ceblain (AT) tmlponline (DOT) net

  35. I am going to have to make that soup for one of our cold Minnesota days. Your book sounds awesome and I would love to read it. Thank you for the chance.

  36. Thanks everyone for expressing such interest in Meg Harris mysteries. Enjoy your soup

  37. Maria (and Eric) can come and look after me any time! On a more serious note, our whole family would love Maria's soup and I will definitely try it soon on a chilly early winter day. Your friend, Nancy R - forever posting as Anonymous, until I figure out the system LOL