Portuguese Sopash with Buffalo

Dave Guzzetti, former Chico City Concilman and longtime restauranteur and caterer, offers this recipe for sopash, which is regularly served at Portuguese festas throughout the spring season. Many traditional festas are celebrated in California’s Central Valley, where Portuguese dairy (and other) farmers live.

For about a dozen guests, 

  • use about 6 pounds meat, either in large stewing pieces or a roast, but you must have some bones, even if they are bought separately.  (Beef is traditionally used, of course.) Put the meat and bones in a slow cooker or Dutch oven. 
  • Add white wine to cover the meat, 
  • 12-15 whole cloves of garlic, 
  • 2 onions, cut in chunks, 
  • 2 carrots, cut in chunks, 
  • 3 or 4 cups of tomato sauce, 
  • a cup of catsup, 
  • a few bay leaves, 
  • 1 tablespoon each black pepper, allspice, cumin, salt, and cinnamon. 

Cook 8-12 hours. Add a little water later if you need to, but cook it slow!  About an hour before serving, remove the meat to a separate bowl, then quarter a head of cabbage and add it to the broth.

To serve, put a thick slice of bread (a little stale is OK) in the bottom of the bowl, top with sprigs of fresh mint.  Ladle the soup with cabbage over the bread and add some meat to the bowl.