Portuguese Holy Ghost Soup | Sopas do Espírito Santo

Portuguese Holy Ghost Soup, or Sopas do Espírito Santo, is traditional to the Portuguese Holy Ghost festa. This dish has a rich history and rich flavor. The festa is held only once a year, so if you ever get the craving you now know how to make the soup on your own!

Portuguese Holy Ghost Soup in stock pot and in small ceramic bowl

Portuguese Holy Ghost Soup | Sopas do Espírito Santo

Portuguese Holy Ghost Soup, or Sopas do Espírito Santo, is traditional to the Portuguese Holy Ghost festa. This dish has a rich history and rich flavor. The festa is held only once a year, so if you ever get the craving you now know how to make the soup on your own!
3.93 from 57 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 15


  • 15 black peppercorns, whole sub. 1½ tsp ground pepper
  • 10 allspice kernels
  • 10 cloves, whole
  • 5 sticks cinnamon sub. 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 10- 20 bay leaves
  • 5 lbs beef chuck roast, bone in
  • 2 yellow onions, large sliced in thick wedges
  • 1-1½ quarts water
  • cups red wine
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch mint leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 4 tsp table salt
  • 1-2 bunches collard greens sliced
  • day old Portuguese or crusty artisan bread thickly sliced
  • 2 cups tomatoes peeled or finely chopped, sub. 2 cans of tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Make a bouquet garni with all of the whole spices and bay leaves.
    allspice spice 7660
  • To a large stock pot, add the chuck, onions, water, red wine, garlic, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, 1/4 of the bunch of mint, cumin, salt and the bouquet garni. Set over medium-low heat and allow to cook for at least 5-7 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone and easily shredded.
    allspice spice 7662
  • *Optional* To add a extra richness and a velvety mouth feel to your soup follow these steps. Add ¼ cup of water to a small sauté pan. Pour in two packets of gelatin. Stir it to combine and let it sit for 5 minutes. This step is known as blooming. Add two ladles full of hot broth from the soup pot into the gelatin and allow the gelatin a few minutes to melt. After the gelatin is fully dissolved add it into the soup.
    mint spice herb 7671
  • When your soup has about 1 hour left of cooking, add the sliced collard greens. At this time you can also add a few more cups of water if your soup needs it. This soup should contain a lot of broth. Additionally, taste your broth and add more salt and other seasonings.
    douro wine portugal portuguese 1
  • To serve, place a slice or two of bread in each soup bowl topped with a mint leaf or two. Ladle a generous amount of broth over the bread to soften followed with some pieces of meat.
    corn raisins molasses cinnamon 9213



Bouquet garni: a French term, for a bundle of herbs tied together. This makes it easy to remove woody herbs or whole spices before serving. 
Holy Ghost Crown link:
Product history: The Azorean cult of the Divine Holy Spirit, will have eradicated from taking where there are sure news of its existence, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Another relevant center was Alenquer where, in the early years of the fourteenth century, Queen Santa Isabel introduced the first celebration of the empire of the Divine Holy Spirit, probably influenced by spiritualist Franciscans, who founded the first Franciscan convent in Portugal. From then on, the cult spread, first to the rest of Portugal and then accompanying the Portuguese in the expansion of the Discoveries. The newly discovered lands, subordinated directly to the prior of Tomar and later to the archbishopric of Funchal and the new bishopric of Angra, were under the religious guidance of the Order of Christ, which was responsible for appointing the clergy and supervising their religious development. In this context, references to the cult of the Holy Spirit are a common reality throughout the archipelago, where the existence of Brotherhoods of the Divine is already recorded, with the bodo and distribution of meat, bread and wine in the mid-16th century. The cult of the Divine Holy Spirit is one of the central features of unification and culture of Azoreanity, between the various islands, and these with the world. With the Azorean emigration, the cult was taken to Brazil in the 18th century, mainly to Rio de Janeiro and later to the USA. But what really characterizes the Holy Spirit Festivities is their religious/profane aspect of solidarity, marked by gastronomy, in the "Function". This varies from island to island, from empire to empire, even on the same island. The Holy Spirit festivals, which have their origins in the donation of food to the poor by Isabel of Aragon (1271-1336), were introduced by the Portuguese on the island to protect the inhabitants from natural disasters. Traditionally, they take place on Sundays for seven weeks after Easter. These festivals, especially celebrated on Terceira Island, mix dances, floral arrangements and the crowning of a child, who presides over the ceremonies. On the last day (i.e. the seventh Sunday), the soup of the Holy Spirit is prepared and distributed to the public. It is made from beef and chicken cooked in a broth containing garlic, onion, mint, cinnamon, chili pepper, cabbage and lard. The soup and a preparation of beef liver cooked in blood are served on layers of bread. This takes place in the Impérios, small masonry constructions where part of the feast takes place and the emblems of the festival are displayed. On Terceira Island, there are 58 empires, which are usually painted in the bright colors of spring.
IMG 0403 IMG 0043 IMG 0428
slow cooking
History of the Holy Ghost queens
Link to IDES Azorean Halls Festas in CA, 
Azorean history immigration
Azore Island Pictures
Keyword Festa, Holy Ghost Soup, portugal soup, portuguese soup, soup
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Portuguese / Keto / Seafood / Vegetarian / Breakfast / Dinner

Michael holding plate of pesto crab cakes

Hello, I'm Michael!

I aspire to share recipes that you and your family can enjoy while also learning about cooking fundamentals along the way. I attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, CA and now enjoy cooking as a hobby.

Link to shop Michael's Kitchen Essentials