If you think this is a quick dish, you are oh so wrong.
This dish takes hours in preparing. The shopping itself implies buying multiple ingredients that do not exactly match the idea of the food of islanders: different types of beans, corn, chorizo, salted pork, winter squash, onions and cabbage (and this is only for the simple version – you can add a lot more meats) For the complete variation, you can add black blood sausage, a pork’s foot and even more meat!
It all starts with preparing the corn and bean mixture. This mixture has to cook on low fire for a couple of hours. Of course you could soak the beans in water over night or use a pressure pot, but if you really want to make it right, you’ll work from scratch…
Then you are ready to start making the reforgado. This implies chopping all vegetables and meats and cooking them together with bay leaf and salt and pepper.
The result, after hours of cooking is a mess. Let’s be honest, this doesn’t really look appealing, but it tasted really good! The recipe for Cachupa varies from household to household and it is a dish that symbolises social gatherings. You share a pot of Cachupa with your friends and family. Everyone on Cape Verde believes that this is an occasion for sharing moments, memories and telling stories. This dish transpires the culture of this little archipelago.
Have you ever tried it? If you are looking for a recipe, here you go.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 can tomatoes
1/2 l chicken stock
350 g pork belly, cut into pieces
1 cabbage, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
1 can of kidney beans
1 can hominy (if you cannot find it, you can substitute with white corn, or in the worst case scenario, corn), or you can use polenta
300 g chorizo
In a Dutch oven or an oven proof pot, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and bay leaves. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil. Add the pork belly and simmer for 30 minutes.
Now stir in the cabbage, the sweet potato, hominy/corn/polenta, the beans and the chorizo. Bring to a boil and add the stock, cover with a lid. Now it is time to put it into the oven. Bake at 180º C for approximately 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave it for about 30 minutes. Serve.