This recipe for manchup was based on a reader’s search for this seemingly elusive dish. With a little luck and even more outside-the-box thinking, Gary Allen found it.
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).
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.
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.
Cape Verdean Foods and Cooking
Manchup | Cachupa
- 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 or kale 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Arrange the meats and vegetables on platter. Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve the hominy and beans in a separate bowl.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Originally published September 14, 2009
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
No this not Cachupa or Manchupa…green beans? Really?
Chiya, there are many versions and types of cachupa. In São Tomé and Principe, they use green beans. It’s the same with Portuguese dishes. I raise my eyebrows at certain variations of dishes, but it was always due to them being different from what I knew and grew up on. Eventually, I realized food is as unique as a fingerprint.
I’m 100% Brava Cape Verdean. So, yes. We call it Manchupa. Or Munchupa. My big issue with this recipe, and they do differ from Island to island, is cabbage. I’ve never heard of this. It’s always been Kale not cabbage.
Hi, I’m Andy Monteiro 4th generation Cape Verdean. We grew up on all these hearty soups/stews. We always put cabbage in munchoup and kale in kale soup which is also great.
That sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Andy.
Hello, proud Cape Verdean Jim! Kale is a member of the cabbage family, but you raise a good point. I’m adding “kale” in the ingredients. And your manchupa looks great!
Hi, my name is Amber. I’m half Cape Verdean. My mom’s family is full cape verdean. Their last names are Gonsalves and DeGraca. I’m from Rhode Island and grew up eating monchup. My mom keeps it secret as well. I’m the only one out of her kids that knows how to make it. I love it! I really miss jag as well. I want to make it but I can’t fund linguicia anywhere! Trying to find out more about my ancestors and which island’s we come from. Take care and God bless!
Hello everyone. Hi Amber! My great grandfather is Cape Verdean and I have a lot of family in Providence Rhode Island. I was speaking with an Aunt today for this recipe as my grandmother and mother made with linguiça and she also recalled kale. Happy to have found this page and nice to meet Cape Verdeans.–Stacy
Amber, have you tried Portugalia Marketplace in Fall River, MA? They ship their linguiça and chouriço.
Gaspar’s Sausage Company in Dartmouth, MA will ship anywhere.
Jim, yes, they do. I grew up in Fall River, MA, about 10 minutes away from Gaspar’s, and we’ve eaten their sausage many a time.
I was one of the lucky persons to learn how to make munchupa. Passed the knowledge to my sister and daughter. I could eat this dish daily. My friends that have tasted it keep asking when I’m going to cook it again. Samp is not available in Arizona, so I make it only 4 times a year. Makes me homesick, when I’m eating it I think how nice it would be to have my family gathering around my kitchen.
I am from New England, and I just had my brother send me some samp, but you can order samp online.
Thanks for helping out, Cheryl.
Lovely. Thank you for sharing, Joanna. I, too, live in Arizona and find that many ingredients that I would like to work with are not here, but we still have our memories. Funny how food possesses the capacity to conjure so many moments from our past…
Thank you for your informative post and recipe! I am currently in the process of cooking the national dish from every country, and this week’s its Cape Verde! I disclose on my blog that none of the recipes I use are of my own creation. Furthermore, I post the link for each recipe I use in the “Recipe Links” section for people interested in recreating the dish I post. Excited to recreate this dish!
Sounds like an interesting project, Teresa. Best of luck!