I’m so pleased that I eat “Cachupa” today! For that reason, I decide to talk a bit more about this d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s cape verdean dish.
Since I started to live in London, one of the things that I miss the most about Cape verde, apart from the “Quebra- canela” beach, it’s “Cachupa”. “Cachupa” is a boiled stew of corn, beans,vegetables, sausages, chiken or tuna. The “cachupa” recipes vary from island to island in Cape verde islands. For me and most of cape verdeans, it’s always a speacial occasion, when you have cachupa as a meal. And usually, these speacial occasions are called “cachupada”.
But if it’s only boiled corn,beans, and vegetables, what’s the big deal about making “cachupa rica”?
Well… in many rural places in Cape Verde, women still spend many hours gathering firewood (known as lenha) to cook cachupa. It might sounds funny, or antiquated, but the food tastes much better when is cooked in firewood rather than when is cooked in an ordinary stove. However you can still making a delicious “cachupa” without spending hours gathering firewood.
“Cachupa Rica” recipe:
- 2 cups of corn
- 1 cup large dry lima Beans
- 1/2 cup dry stone Beans
- 1/4 cup dry red kidney beans
- 1 lb. lean salt Pork meat
- 1 pig’s foot (split) if desired
- 1/2 lb garlic Sausage
- 1 whole, uncut blood pudding Sausage
- 1 small cabbage cut in quarters
- 1 – 2 cups big pieces of hard winter Squash
- 6 garlic buds
- 2 seeded ripe tomatoes
- 2 laurel bay leaves
- 1 Chicken bouillon cube
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- dried and hulled cracked corn( known as midju cutxido)
Wash all corn and dry Beans. In a heavy large kettle (10 quart) boil corn for 10 minutes and carefully discard froth which collects on the top. Add dry Beans, 1 bay leaf and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil. Lower heat enough to maintain a steady but slow boil.
Add salt Pork. If you are using pig’s feet add at this time. Leave cover slightly ajar. Throughout cooking make certain liquid covers the corn and Beans. Use at least 4 quarts of water or stock. After the mixture has boiled for the first hour add any Pork meat and Sausage. Cook partially covered at a very gentle boil over low heat for an additional one and one half (1 1/2) hours.
Saute onions, garlic, chopped seeded tomato or tomato paste in oil until very soft. Add the second bay leaf. Add the mixture to the kettle when the cachupa has about one hour of cooking time left. Correct seasoning by carefully adding salt and pepper to taste. If adding Squash do so when there is about 1/2 hour cooking time remaining. Remember that Squash will continue to cook even after the kettle has been removed from the heat.
A few Cape Verdean cooks will even add a cup of canned or fresh Tuna to the sauteed Onion, garlic and tomatoes to enhance the flavor of the stew.
For best results let cachupa sit covered and off the flame for at least twenty minutes before serving. The spices and salt will be absorbed into the corn, bean and the “gravy” will take on its special texture. Arrange the meats and vegetables on a large platter and serve the corn and Beans from a bowl. Some folks may want to individually drizzle a little tabasco or piri-piri sauce on top.