Autumn, Entertaining

A Soup-er Fall Luncheon

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This has been one of the most beautiful fall seasons in memory. And with it comes one of our favorite traditions – large pots of Portuguese Kale Soup simmering on the stove.


With its strong cultural roots in Rhode Island and New England, the soup’s main ingredient, kale (we prefer the variety ‘Toscano,’) is obviously an annual addition to our cutting garden.

BP-Cutting-Garden - Copy

Over the years, I’ve tweaked the ingredients to be more in keeping with our current dietary and culinary preferences – and nothing has been lost in the translation. Potatoes have been replaced with turnips (more fall-ish, and more tasteful, in my book) and kidney beans with small white beans; I long ago eliminated the pasta as called for in the standard Portuguese Kale Soup recipe.

Friends were anticipating this Pardee signature dish when they came for lunch and a football game (the New England Patriots, of course) recently. The sunny, warm-ish day and fire in the library didn’t disappoint. And look what greeted them in our front courtyard…a picture-perfect, undisturbed blanket of russet beech leaves.


We love serving from the kitchen…

…and then moving to our “sunroom” with its views of the fall  garden representing my favorite color palette. The centerpiece took its cues from  the same color scheme, but this year it was played out with a new find — velvet pumpkins, in all different shapes, paired with leaves and a bouquet of one specimen flower, petit chocolate cosmos. Curiously, these unusual versions of the larger, more familiar pink and white cosmos seem to thrive in this cool fall climate rather than in the summer (and they do smell exactly like chocolate).


With everyone  settled in the library for the kickoff, a light-ish dessert of an old staple,  crème caramel, was served from the bar.


If this is a new soup for you, enjoy a taste of Newport. And if you are familiar with Portuguese Kale Soup, I hope you’ll enjoy my tweaks to the standard recipe.

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Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe


4 1/2 lbs. beef shank center cut
1 lb. Chourico (Portuguese sausage)
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 small green cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 large turnip, cut into 1/2″  cubes
1 15.5 oz can of small white beans, drained
2 small chicken bouillon cubes
8 cups of water

1. Add water, chicken bouillon, beef and chourico to pressure cooker; cook for 30 minutes.
2. Remove beef and chourico from pressure cooker.
3. Add kale, cabbage, onion, carrots, turnips and white beans to pressure cooker; cook for 25 minutes.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, chop the beef and chourico into approximately 1″  cubes.
5. Put vegetables, beef, chourico and liquids into a heavy-sided cooking pot.
6. Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes.

Note: We cook the soup 5 days ahead of serving time, simmering on the stove at least one hour a day, to insure that soup flavors have “married.”

Please do share your recipe with us for Portuguese Kale Soup!

All images are property of Bettie Bearden Pardee –

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

3 thoughts on “A Soup-er Fall Luncheon

  1. Bettie, dear!
    Thank you for introducing me to velvet pumpkins! They are gorgeous…as is the whole piece you did for your fall luncheon..The kale soup looks insane! Can’t wait to try it…not until Palm Beach temperature goes down to 60 degrees, though :))
    Just loving all your blogs (Peter now follows it, too) xxxxJane

    1. Aren’t they yummy?! Wishing you and Peter a Happy Thanksgiving down there with the palm trees. xo B.

  2. Hi Bettie,
    I always thought your old website was fab! I look forward to the new look and all your articles and gorgeous photos! Loved being with you last week! Keep the good posts coming!


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