Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cheap Eats

I recently discovered that I make a great Cachupa. Whats this you ask? It's practically the national dish of Cape Verde (the islands off the coast of Africa/Portugal) consisting of several types of beans, dry hominy, greens, butternut squash and tomatoes. Sound familiar? If you're used to making Italian food...one might immediately think of a minestrone or the start of a ribollita. In fact, this would be almost true, except that in a cachupa, hominy corn is cooked to add a rich velvety texture to a broth that is further thickened and sweetened by butternut squash. Truly amazing! One more note about this dish is that it can be made one of three ways: vegetarian, w/pork, or w/fish. The ingredients stay the same regardless, and one thing is traditional -- start with dry ingredients (beans/hominy) and don't mix types of meat.

Pork Cachupa di Cabo Verde:
serves 6

1 bunch collard greens or swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 2 inch chunks

1 cup dry white beans

1 cup dry garbanzo beans

1/2 cup dry lima beans

1/2 cup dry kidney beans

2 cups dry white hominy corn

2 cups canned, whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 head of green cabbage, core removed and cut into large chunks

6 bay leaves

6 cloves of garlic

4 cups chicken stock

1/4# diced salt pork (optional)

1 # diced fresh chorizo sausage (optional)

4 - 8 oz pork shoulder steaks

salt to taste

black pepper to taste


1. Soak the beans in cool water and refridgerate overnight. Then, drain the water, rinse, and place them in a pot and cover with 6 inches of cool water. Add the salt pork, 1 clove garlic, 1 bay leaf, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keep a careful watch on the level of water and refill to maintain at least 2 inches of water over the beans. Cook until the beans are soft, but not fully tender - about 30 minutes.

2. In a large pot, brown the pork shoulder in a little oil. Remove them and add the chicken stock, hominy corn, bay leaves, beans with their liquid, garlic, butternut squash, chorizo and bring to a simmer. Add the pork and cook for 1 hour. Watch the level of broth, the mix should maintain a thick soup consistency.

3. Add the tomato, cabbage, and remaining ingredients and simmer for another 30 - 45 minutes until the pork is tender enough to be pulled apart with a fork.

4. Adjust the salt and pepper and spoon into large bowls to serve. The final product should be thickened enough by the hominy and squash to be as thick as a stew. Traditionally it is enjoyed on its own, but occasionally I cut thick pieces of french bread to accompany.

No comments:

Post a Comment