Cachupa is a slow boiled stew of hominy corn, beans, vegetables, spices and marinated pork or tuna. It is often described as the staple food of the Cape Verde Islands.
2 cups of corn*
1 cup large dry lima beans
1/2 cup dry stone beans (feijao pedra)
1/4 cup dry red kidney beans
1 lb. lean salt pork meat
1 pig’s foot (split) if desired
1/2 lb chorico sausage (or other smoked garlic sausage)
1 whole, uncut blood pudding sausage (if desired)
1 small cabbage cut in quarters
1 – 2 cups big pieces of hard winter squash (if desired)
6 garlic buds (or more to taste)
2 seeded ripe tomatoes
2 laurel bay leaves
1 chicken bouillon cube (or substitute chicken stock for as much of the liquid as possible)
1/2 c. olive oil
* midge cutchido, dried and hulled cracked corn also commercially available in the U.S. as samp or yellow or white corn groats.
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. [Cooking time can be reduced by soaking dry ingredients overnight. But cachupa “purists” prefer to work from dry ingredients].
Sauté 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 sautéed onion, garlic and tomatoes to enhance the flavor of the stew. But generally one prepares either a meat cachupa or a fish cachupa (cachupa di peixe).
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.