Manchup: Cape Verde’s National Dish is a Savory Mix

Cachupa Rica Recipe

LC reader Mary Cannon wrote in, asking if we had a recipe for manchup. A quick search of the Web told me that manchup is a dish from the Cape Verde Islands, but nothing more. Additional searches found very few recipes from Cape Verde, and none of them for manchup. Suspecting that the dish’s name might have variant spellings, I tried looking for anything that sounded reasonably close to manchup, on the Internet and in books on West African cuisine (since I couldn’t find any Cape Verdean cookbooks).

No luck.

Human nature being what it is, food writers can usually count on the nostalgia that people feel for the cooking of their homeland. A query was posted to a bulletin board for Cape Verdean émigrés. Four people read it, but none answered. There was still one avenue of hope: Cape Verde’s embassy in Washington, DC. An appropriately desperate e-mail was sent, explaining the problem.

An hour later, Jose Brito, the Republic of Cape Verde’s ambassador to the United States, wrote back. According to Brito, “Cachoupa [is] translated here in the US [as] manchup.” This was a significant clue. Going back to the Cape Verdean recipe sites, finding an answer became a relatively simple matter — although cachoupa’s name does indeed have a variant spelling: cachupa. But where did the name manchup come from? It’s apparently a corruption of munchupa, a name for cachupa that is used on Brava Island, at the southwestern end of the Cape Verde archipelago.

Cachupa is the national dish of Cape Verde. Like other great rustic dishes, such as the cassoulet of France and feijoada of Brazil, it uses highly seasoned meats in relatively small amounts together with grains and beans, and is slowly cooked to build a great depth of flavor. And like those dishes, it is even better when reheated the next day.

Cape Verdeans created one of the first fusion cuisines, incorporating the tastes and ingredients of Europe (livestock), Africa and Asia (sugar and tropical fruits), and the Americas (beans, chiles, corn, pumpkins, and manioc). They were able to do so because of their location: Just off the west coast of Africa, they were ideally suited as a stopping point, first for Portuguese explorers, and later for slave traders.

Cachupa can be very simple — barely more than samp (hominy), beans, and some salt pork, much like old-fashioned succotash. This simple peasant fare is known as cachupa povera. Wealthier Cape Verdeans — or even the poor, on special occasions, such as weddings — add more ingredients, such as a little meat or fish, in which case the dish is known as cachupa sabe, a more savory dish, like Brunswick stew. At the other end of the spectrum you’ll find cachupa rica — the richest variation. Like feijoada completa, it’s a long way from the simple peasant dish of legumes and grain. Here is a recipe for cachupa rica.

Note: This recipe doesn’t indicate the number of portions or portion size; it has been edited, but not tested.

References
Cape Verdean Foods and Cooking

Cachupa Rica Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 3 H
  • Serves a crowd

Ingredients

  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups dried hominy, soaked in plenty of water overnight
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked plenty of water overnight
  • 1 cup dried large lima beans, soaked plenty of water overnight
  • 2 pounds beef or pork spareribs
  • 1 chouriço or linguiça sausage, sliced
  • 1 blood sausage, sliced
  • 1/4 pound lean bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh green beans
  • 2 pounds cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 2 pounds fresh yams, peeled, 1-inch dice
  • 2 pounds fresh sweet potatoes, peeled, 1-inch dice
  • 2 pounds winter squash, peeled, 1-inch dice
  • 1 chicken, cut in 12 serving pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, quartered
  • Sofrito (a seasoning paste of sauteed garlic, onion, and tomato paste), to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped

Directions

  • 1. In a stock pot, combine 6 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Add soaked hominy and beans. Simmer until nearly fork-tender.
  • 2. In a separate pot, brown the spareribs, chouriço or linguiça, blood sausage, and bacon, then add the green beans, cabbage, plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, and squash. Set aside.
  • 3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then cook in skillet filmed with olive oil until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and the meat-vegetable mixture to the stock pot of hominy and beans. Cook on low heat for approximately 40 minutes. Add the sofrito to taste, and simmer 20 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and let rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
  • 4. Arrange the meats and vegetables on platter. Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve the hominy and beans in a separate bowl.
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About Gary Allen

Our food history editor, Gary Allen, teaches food writing and various food and culture courses at Empire State College, has been vice-president, newsletter editor and webmaster for the Association for the Study of Food and Society. His books include The Resource Guide for Food Writers, The Herbalist in the Kitchen, The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and the anthology Human Cuisine.
His latest book, Herbs: A Global History, a volume in The Edible Series of Reaktion Press, will be published in May 2012. He’s currently at work on another book for the same series—on sausage. Visit him at his website, On the Table, and blog, Just Served.

Comments
Comments
  1. Thank you Gary for an excellent background on the Cape Verdean dish, “Cachupa” and Cape Verdean cuisine. My family (from Brava) called it both manchup and cachupa, and my mom’s version is the dried corn, fava beans, kidney beans, butter beans, mandioca (yucca), kale, onion, pork or beef and pig’s feet—typical of most cachupa I have eaten made by different Cape Verdean ladies in the SE Massachusetts Cape Verdean community.

    When I went to Cape Verde last year, some restaurants only serve it certain days of the week, and then many people eat the leftovers fried for breakfast. Of course, some ladies were/are well-known for their cachupa, like Mary Tabor of my childhood.

    I am surprised to see cilantro in the one recipe, as I don’t know of one traditional Crioulo (Cape Verdean) recipe that uses cilantro. My mother hates it and my relatives from Djabraba (Brava) don’t cook with it. But perhaps it’s something new or used in other parts of Cape Verde.

    Best,

    Roxanne

    • kim says:

      I don’t mean to offend you but is it possible you got fava beans confused with giant white lima beans?

      • David Leite says:

        Kim, if you notice in Gary’s article, the first two recipes for cachupa don’t include fava beans. The third does as a substitute for lima beans, which is in keeping with Roxanne’s family’s experiences.

  2. Jayd says:

    It’s always a breath of fresh air whenever I can read anything about Cape Verdean culture, especially food. My parents and relatives are from Fogo, Cabo Verde. I was looking for chacupa recipe and came across your page. I must say that the way my parents and relatives have prepare their chacupa has been very different from the recipes you describe. Usually there is a combination of vegetables (collard greens and or carrots), beans (dried Lima beans), hominy and pork. Peppercorn was an ingredient that surprised me since i have never heard or seen any CV from MA using it in ANY recipe. I do think that different CV use different variations. I recently went to France to visit CV from Sal and they had kidney beans in their chacupa…that was a first for me. It only makes me wonder have I been cheated out of authentic CV food all my life? :)

    • gary says:

      I’m glad this provided a little trip down memory lane, jayd.

      One thing I’ve learned over the years is that there is no such thing as an “authentic” dish. There may be certain guidelines, certain techniques and ingredients, that define a classic dish–but actual execution is never the same (and never has been). Invariably, from region to region, even household to household, substitutions are always made. They may be due to seasonal availability of ingredients, personal preferences, any reason at all.

      When I was at the CIA, one could always launch a massive argument by claiming that there is only one proper way to do something as simple as trussing a chicken. With 100 expert chefs on hand there could easily be 150 “only ways” to do it.

      Whenever I see the term “authentic recipe,” I automatically take it with a grain — or teaspoon, or gram, or cup — of salt.

  3. Marcello says:

    I had cachupa for the very first time and couldn’t wait to find in on Google, and I am so happy I found it. I’m so fortunate I live at the height of IT.

  4. kyle says:

    Im full blood CV, reppin brava and fogo. My grandmother lived with me my whole life until she passed when I was 22, three years ago. So cachupa, kanja, and gufong were always in my home..Just had a bowl of this this morning lol..Cant wait until the St. John’s Fest.

    • Brian says:

      Hey Kyle, My ancestors are from Brava also, could you please post your cahupa—we called it Manchupa, kanja and gufong—recipes? I’d really appreciate it, as all have passed without passing the recipes to the right ones. Some of my family keep them secret.

      • kim says:

        Canja is a very simple recipe. It’s simply chicken and rice soup. Spice your chicken, than sear it in the stock pot, add chicken broth, and water bring to a boil and add rice (River rice works the best), add butter, paprika and onions and cook for about one and half hours.

  5. Steve says:

    HELP….. As a kid growing up CV in MA (the Boston to New Bedford area), my grandmother and my mother always made “MANCHUPA”. It had samp, cracked corn, they would put lingica and sometimes pork ribs and butternut squash in it. It was very “souppy” or even “stew” like. my mom and Nana have sence passed and I don’t have their recipe’ but maybe someone out there can help. I belive Nana was from brava and grandpa was from fogo if that helps, I understand that ther are many variations of “MANCHUPA” and “CACHUPA” but dose this recipe even sound familuare to anyone or has my fam just come up with their own recipe? I have even asked some of my cusins about this but to no avail.

    If there is someone out there that can shed some light please feel free……

    Thanks in advance, Steve

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Steve, let me throw your question out to some of our testers and see if we can get you an answer.

      • Steve says:

        Thanks, can’t wait to hear something.

        • Sofia says:

          Steve,
          Sorry this took so long to reply. I am Portuguese and was very fortunate to have tried often Cachupa back in Portugal. As you said there are many variations of it, depending on one’s family’s recipes. I tried this one and it came out pretty similar to what I have had in the past. The main difference is that this recipe was drier (not as soupy) as the ones I had back home and more meaty. So as a base i would certainly go with this recipe then start tweaking it to taste. I would advice if you also like it with more of the broth to add some beef stock. Hope this helps you and keep us posted if you end up trying this recipe.

    • kim says:

      Steve i make cachupa all the time. I learned to make this from my mother. Cachupa takes about 4 hours to make so while it cooks in the 3rd hour or so the cachupa is soupy and still delicious even if it not thick and ready. I prefer to eat it this way instead of having it thick and like stew. My mother called it Caldo de Cachupa.

    • kim says:

      A lot of people that lived in Brava orginally came from Fogo because of the volcanic eruption there . So basically the foods are the same. Brava is the prettiest of the two islands and the people are most closely related.

  6. kim says:

    My parents are from Brava, and most Cachupa recipes made there is not similar to the ones here. The best Cachupa is made simple without alot stuff. The ingredients are collard greens, dried hominy or samp, white dry lima beans and ham (shoulder). You can use salt pork for extra flavor and bay leaves but not needed. Saute onions with butter and add just before it’s done. Most American people who try this recipe will tell you that this is the best way to have it. Simple is better.

    • David Leite says:

      Hello, Kim. Thanks for writing. I appreciate your passion for the subject of cachupa, but please understand that your family’s experiences may not be like those of other families in Brava. Some families may feed fava beans to the animals, others may eat it themselves. While we encourage our commenters to explain their own personal experiences, we ask that you also respect the experiences of others. I have removed one of your comments. Please take another read of our Comment Policy.

      • kim says:

        I did not mean to offend anyone here. I just made a true statement about how people in Brava use fava beans, not that fava beans is not good to eat but we don’t eat it. This blog should reflect the truth about someone’s culture and not lies. People in Brava respect one another dearly as we are family and close friends.

        • David Leite says:

          Hi Kim. I appreciate your candor, and I agree that the comments should accurately reflect people’s culture. But there are others here whose family are from Brava and who eat fava beans and include them in cachupa–it’s not animal feed to them. It’s clearly not lies to them and telling them so is disregarding their truth. Several people complained, so I felt deleting the comment was the best thing to do. But I greatly appreciate your contribution to the thread about canja (one of my favorites–my grandmother made it all the time) and the clarity you brought to how your family makes cachupa. And I encourage you to tell us more about how your family prepares its favorite Cape Verdean foods. Perhaps we’ll hear from others whose families prepare them differently. It will add depth to this post.

  7. lisa de andrade says:

    I just finished making cachupa and I did it in a crock pot. My health isn’t that great and I can’t stand over a stove for 8 hours. I’m mixed, portuguese, madiran, and cape verdean.The best of all worlds. I grew up eat foods from all three cultures. My family didn’t use red beans of any type, but can’t wait to try one of these recipes. Also my grandmother and mother cooked theirs for 8 to 10 hours. can’t wait to try a 4-hour version.

    Canja in my opinion is very easy to mess up and quite hard to make. I have had a lot of real bad canja and only two great ones, my mothers and the gentleman who taught her. It’s all in the butter or it taste like the bland American version of chicken. Don’t mean to insult American cooks, but there is a big difference in flavor. So if anyone can give me a good canja recipe I will be so grateful, and will cherish it. I make guofong evry Sunday for my son.

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      lisa, when you make the cachupa, please let us know.

      As far as canja, do you mean the Portuguese chicken soup recipe? I’m not familiar with any that have butter as an ingredient.

    • Sofia Reino says:

      Lisa,

      I am Portuguese and I grew up with my GrandMother making very often canja. Canja is a chicken broth, very liquid and translucent. Not sure if it is at all how your family used to make it, but here is how we always did it: My grandmother used to make canja, starting with good salted butter, then lots of onions (about 2 to 3 chopped onions), garlic (about 4 to 5 minced cloves) and herbs (she would use what was in season). Then she would add two to three grilled or broiled chicken carcasses with some meat on them. She would fill the pot with water and let it summer for a good few hours. Then she would strain the broth, and voila, a simple yet tasty canja. Does this sound similar to how your family made it? Meanwhile there are two recipes on this site that I also love. This first chicken stock recipe in many ways is similar to the canja I grew up with, just without the butter, which makes it a lighter version. This second chicken stock recipe made in a slow cooker is also pretty good, you do not have to worry about it. Though I love them both, I must say I prefer the first one.

  8. Edward J Pina says:

    Sofia, canja is a soup that is good for when you have a hangover. You can make cachupa, but when it is done it is soupy. When you put it in the fridge, it will dry up because of the bean and the samp. To reheat it, add a little of water and enjoy. I make all the time. But I put cabbage and collard greens and 13 beans and smoked and fresh neck bones with large and small shell beans.

    • Sofia Reino, Senior LC Recipe Tester says:

      Edward, Thanks for the comments. Canja is indeed good for hangovers, a cold, or anytime you have the blues. It is pure comfort food, isn’t it? Yoru version of cachupa sounds amazing. I’m sure that the smoked and fresh neck bones really add a nice flavor to it. Usually when I have leftovers of cachupa I actually like adding plain canja to add a tad more of the chicken flavor. But am sure water works just as well. Do simply add water or a bit of salt too? Thanks for the comments, Edward.

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