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.
I have been making cachupa for years and absolutely love hearing about all the different variations from Portugal to CV! My family would use the fava beans, large lima, and kale also. My favorite is after its cooked and waking up the day after and making a hash with it and frying in skillet and putting eggs on top! Amazing if you have not tried you should!
Sounds wonderful, Kym!
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 become less soupy because of the beans and the samp. To reheat it, add a little water and enjoy. I make it all the time. But I include cabbage and collard greens and 13 beans and smoked and fresh neck bones with large and small shell beans.
Edward, thanks for the comments. Canja is indeed good for a hangover, a cold, or anytime you have the blues. It’s pure comfort food, isn’t it? Your version of cachupa sounds amazing. I’m sure that the smoked and fresh neck bones really add a nice flavor. Usually when I have leftovers of cachupa I actually like adding plain canja to add a tad more chicken flavor. But am sure water works just as well. Do you simply add water or a bit of salt, too? Thanks for the comments, Edward.
I just finished making cachupa, and I did it in a CrockPot. 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 eating foods from all three cultures. My family didn’t use red beans of any type but can’t wait to try this recipe. 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 really bad canja and only two great ones, by my mother and the gentleman who taught her. It’s all in the butter, or it tastes 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.
My mother’s Canja
Brown chicken in one stick butter with onion and garlic and 4 stalks celery.
Season with poultry seasoning, garlic power, salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste
Add generous water and cook until chicken is tender but not all the way done. Add one cup of rice and cook until rice and chicken are done.
Some recipes add tomato sauce but my mother didn’t.
Thank you, Connie, for sharing this recipe. We so appreciate it!
I am Portuguese and I grew up with my grandmother making canja very often. Canja is a chicken broth, very liquify and translucent. Not sure if this is at all how your family used to make it, but my grandmother always 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 2 to 3 grilled or broiled chicken carcasses with some meat on them. She would fill the pot with water and let it simmer for a good few hours. Then she would strain the broth, and voilà, 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, as you do not have to worry about it. Though I love them both, I must say I prefer the first one.
You forgot the rice and paprika. I use River Rice brand, which works really well.
Kim, that is how Sofia’s family made, which is clearly different from how yours made it. Mine used rice and paprika, like yours, but no butter.
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.
My parents are from Brava, and most cachupa recipes made there are not similar to the one here. The best cachupa is made simple without a lot of 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 these are not needed. Sauté onions with butter and add to the pot just before everything is done. Most American people who try this recipe will tell you that this is the best way to have it. Simple is better.
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.
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 are not good to eat but that 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.
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.
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, linguiça, and sometimes pork ribs and butternut squash. It was very soupy and even stew-like. My mom and Nana have since passed, and I don’t have their recipe, but maybe someone out there can help. I believe Nana was from Brava and grandpa was from Fogo, if that helps. I understand that there are many variations of manchupa and cachupa, but does this recipe even sound familiar to anyone or has my fam just come up with their own recipe? I have even asked some of my cousins about this, to no avail. If there is someone out there that can shed some light, please feel free…
Thanks in advance,
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 prettier of the two islands, and the people are most closely related.
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 like stew. My mother called it Caldo de Cachupa.
Hi Steve, let me throw your question out to some of our testers and see if we can get you an answer.
Thanks, can’t wait to hear something.
Sorry this took so long to reply. I am Portuguese and was very fortunate to have often tried 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 not as soupy as the ones I had back home and also a little meatier. So as a base, I would certainly go with this recipe then start tweaking it to taste. I would advise if you also like it with more broth to add some beef stock. Hope this helps you, and keep us posted if you end up trying this recipe.