Week 7. Cape Verde. Cachupa

The more I write this blog, the more it fuels my desire to open the shop. To give you some background, I will one day open ‘Riverbank and Badger’. It’ll be a Delicatessen, open from 6am until 7pm and it’ll sell stunning food from small independent companies across the country. Snacks will be available for breakfast with coffee, small bites will be available at lunchtime and each night a 3 course ‘pick me up’ meal will be on offer. There is more to that, but I need to hold some back or I might just be copied before I exist! I’ll also have an online shop which’ll utilize the skills I’ve developed in my current career.

Twitter has spurned me on, as it’s littered with fabulous companies who are set up already and I’m jealous of those people. They’ve taken a risk which, for me, is so impressive – me being risk adverse (as much as I wish I wasn’t). I have a job which  pays the bills and give us a little more to play with. I have a fear that starting the deli is too much of a risk on my own and therefore I think what is probably the best way to do things is to set up and continue working – therefore avoiding having to take such an initial punt. I want to do everything I can to avoid being a statistic – a failed start-up. I need to set it up online first. Yup – that’s what I’m going to do. I think I’ll start with a couple of lines from some great companies and see what happens. I’ll keep you up to date!

Back to the cooking and this week we have Cape Verde. Unlike most weeks I had little choice when deciding what to cook. The Cape Verde islands are situated in the Atlantic a great big hop from the coast of West Africa. Colonised by the Portuguese (same as last week) the cuisine is known to be cross cultural. That being said, I could only find three or four well known recipes which were specifically from the islands; a fish soup, a bread, a lightly flavoured rice and Cachupa. I haven’t begun making the Cachupa yet, but I’m already completely absorbed by it as it sounds really exciting. The recipe is below, but let me list the ingredients now to start to paint the picture of this dish:

Beans:

Hominy, Kidney, Lima, Pinto

Meat (and blood):

Chicken, Pork, Chorizo, Bacon, Black Pudding

Veg,

Plantain, Cabbage, Sweet Potato, Squash, Onion, Garlic.

I had never heard of Hominy and didn’t have the slightest clue who would sell it. Fortunately an online Mexican Food Company had some so I made my first online order of my cooking journey. It’s a dried maize which will add bulk to the dish. Hominy is the identical twin of a Chickpea but only in looks – they taste completely differently

It begins:

Right – well now it’s 6:30pm on Thurs night and we’re off. I started by putting the soaked beans and hominy (did that overnight) into about 3 pints of water which I just salted. I’m going to boil that for about an hour and in the meantime I chopped the meats and black pudding (but not the chicken) which I will add to the mix in about an hour. After that the plan is to cook the chicken with garlic and tomato to create a rich sauce and then after an hour of the meat cooking, all the remaining ingredients (chicken, veg and herbs) will be added to the pot and it will go for another 45 minutes. The plan at the end is to simply remove the large meat and veg and put them aside and serve the remaining bean mix in a bowl. None of the recipes I’ve looked at actually tell me how to eat it, so at that point I think it’ll be a time to experiment. I have high hopes. The mix of ingredients is different to anything I have put together before, but they look as though they’ll work….I think!

Here is the meat mix:

20:48. Finished. Review

Wow I’m full. Lets get this into context. In the last ten minutes I have consumed hominy, pinto beans, pork, black pudding, chorizo, bacon, chicken, onion, garlic, red kidney beans, sweet potato, tomatoes, plaintain, cabbage, squash and coriander. These ingredients were all in one dish and it bloody worked. The chorizo melted into the dish and laced it with paprika and warm spices; the kidney beans dissolved, which made a rich sauce and the garlic managed to power itself through. I managed a bowlful and not that big a bowl because it stuffed me right up! I definately loved it; the ingredients complemented each other really well. I was concerned the plaintain, squash and sweet potato would make things too sweet – but it wasn’t the case at all…it was rich and savoury.

In summary – make this dish. Make it in July like I did and you will enjoy it – make it in early January when the snow is on the floor and you need warming up – and you will love it!

Cheers to www.twitter.com/wegrowourown as Craig from this site chose this week’s number. Cheers buddy.

Ingredients (make as above):

800g Hominy

250g Pinto Beans

300g Diced Pork

200g Chorizo

200g Bacon

200g Black Pudding

400g Chicken

6 tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 Butternut Squash diced

1 Sweet Potato

2 Plaintain

4 Leaves Cabbage (diced)

Salt to season (careful as there is a lot in the bacon etc)

Coriander (chopped finely to your taste)

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