Cape Verdean Foods
CAPE VERDEAN FOODS
Gretchen Gayle Ellsworth and Molly McGehee, Editors
Molly McGehee, Production Coordinator.
Rachel Young, Cover and Art Work
Special Thanks To:
Mary Faial, Festival Aide
Gina Sanchez, Fellow and Ray
Almeida, Sr. Program Advisor, Cape Verdean Connection Program
Simons, Foodways Coordinator.
Cape Verde's dry, tropical island environment and its role in Portugal's
15th-century colonizations have shaped its cooking traditions. Enslaved
Africans brought knowledge of growing and cooking tropical crops. The Portuguese
brought livestock. They used Cape Verde for feeding the crews of their sailing
ships and as an experimental station for growing foods from the Americas,
such as corn, hot peppers, pumpkins, and cassava. They also transplanted
sugar,bananas, mangos, papayas, and other tropical crops from Asia. National
food preferences, reflected in ritual foods, include an affection for dried
corn, either whole kernels (hominy/samp) or ground to various degrees of
fineness. The national dish, catchupa, is a stew of hominy and beans with
fish or meat. It means home to Cape Verdeans everywhere. Xerem, dried corn
pounded in mortar to the fineness of rice, is the staple of feasts. And
kuskus, ground finer still and steamed in a distinctive ceramic pot called
a binde, is a special treat served hot with butter and milk (kuskus ku leite)
or molasses (kuskus ku mel). Cape Verdean Americans maintain most of these
1 medium onion 3 cups of rice 1 1 5 oz. can of beans (lima or kidney) salt, pepper and paprika 2 bay leaves frsh parsley 4 tablespoons of oil.
DIRECTIONS: Cut up onions in a 2 qt. pan and simmer until golden brown in oil (of choice). Add 6 cups of water to onions and season (to taste) with salt, pepper, paprika, bay leaves and parsley. Bring to a boil and add 3 cups of rice. Lower heat, add beans (of choice), cover pan and simmer for 25 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Turn off stove and let stand.
Serve with chicken, linguica or other meats.
MEAT & POULTRY
(STEWED MEAT & VEGETABLES)
3-4 lbs. cubed meat, pork or beef
4-5 white potatoes
3 lbs. mandioca root
3 medium white yams
3 green bananas
Trim off excess fat, season and marinate meat overnight with salt, garlic,
vinegar, bay leaf, and pepper. Peel and cut up potatoes, yams, mandioca,
and green bananas. In a pot, cook meat with marinade and 3 onions with 1/2
cup cooking oil on low heat until medium done. Add all vegetables to meat
and cover with water. Cook on low until vegetables cook. Season with salt,
garlic, bay leaf, paprika, and pepper.
(THICK CHICKEN RICE SOUP)
1/2 whole chicken, cut up
2 medium onions, chopped
3-4 chicken boullion cubes
1 c. short-grain white rice (may substitute long-grain)
Saute onions in oil. Next, add chicken pieces, boullion cubes and a sufficient
amount of water. After bringing to a boil, add rice and stir occasionally.
Simmer approximately 30-35 minutes, until desired consistency. This thick
soup is offered special family events and on New Year's eve.
CALDO DE PEIXE
6 white potatoes
3 sweet potatoes
l bunch fresh parsley
l green pepper
l red pepper
3 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
3 lbs. fresh, whole, cleaned saltwater fish (examples: tautog, cod, bluefish
or sea bass).
In a large kettle, gently saute chopped onions, tomatoes, scallions and
green and red peppers in oil. Next, add fish cut into small pieces and water.
Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Add peeled potatoes and chopped parsley
to kettle. Reduce heat and simmer. A little may be added to make a thicker
POLVO A MODO ZE DE LINO
2 lbs. octopus (or squid)
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of oil
2 tomatoes or l tablespoon of tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic
2 grains of hot pepper (or as much as you want)
Wash and cut octopus into small pieces. Place octopus in a pot with two
bay leaves and 3 tablespoons of oil. Heat on medium. Allow octopus to cook
for approximately 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, cloves of garlic, diced onion
and hot pepper. Heat on medium low until stew-like. Stir occasionally.
CORN/SAMP & GRAIN DISHES
5 ears fresh corn (or fresh off cob)
1/5 lb. (100 g.) linguica (Portuguese smoked sausage),
sliced 1/4 squash
1/2 lb. (1/4 kg.) fava beans, (or lima beans) fresh or dried
2 ripe tomatoes (or equivalent tomato paste)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 bunch of flat leaf coriander
1 large onion, sliced
Scrape off the fresh corn kernels into a boiler pot. Gently saute onion,
linguica, and pepper in olive oil. Add to the corn the rest of the ingredients
and a sufficient amount of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer.
Prior to serving, season with salt and garnish with chopped flat leaf coriander
4 c. samp (hominy)
1 c. kidney beans
1 c. large lima beans
1/2 c. shell beans
2 lbs. spareribs (pork or beef)
1 chourico (garlic spicy sausage), sliced
l blood sausage, when avallable, sliced
1/4 lb. lean bacon, diced
2 lbs. cabbage, chopped coarsely
2 lbs. tomatoes, quartered
2 lbs. green bananas, peeled and sliced
2 lbs. fresh yams, peeled and chunked
2 lbs. fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 lbs. hard winter squash, peeled and chunked (e.g. buttercup, butternut,
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
Flat leaf coriander
Soak the samp and beans overnight. In a stock pot, heat six cups of water.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil, onion, garlic and bay leaf to water for
seasoning. Bring to boil and add samp and beans. In a separate kettle, cook
the vegetables except the tomatoes with the spareribs, chourico or linguica,
blood sausage, and bacon. Next, cut up and season the chicken. Saute chicken
in olive oil. Add tomatoes, and let simmer until samp and beans are almost
folk tender but not quite done.
Add cooked vegetables and meats into stock pot. Cook on low heat for approximately
one hour. About 20 minutes before the cachupa is done you may mix in well
sauted onion, garlic and tomato paste mixture (sofrito) to adjust and enhance
Turn off heat and let sit in the covered pot for at least one half hour
before serving. Arrange meats and vegetables on a large serving platter
and serve the corn and beans in a bowl.
SUPIDA DE XEREM
(GROUND CORN WITH VEGETABLES & MEAT)
4 lbs. xerem (coarse ground corn)
2 butternut squash
20 kale leaves
l lb. salted pork fat, diced
3 lbs. pork meat, in cubes
2 lbs. dry beans
4 medium onions
Preparation: Soak dry beans overnight in water. Wash in warm water and soak
ground corn 2 hours before cooking with l quartered onion. Marinate and
season pork meat overnight with salt, garlic, vinegar, bay leaf, and pepper.
Cover dry beans and salted pork with water. Cook about one hour and a half
or until medium done. Drain beans when cooked. Cut kale leaves into strips
and boil until medum done in water. Drain kale leaves. Cook ground corn
in water until medium done. Cut butternut squash and gut out seeds. Leave
skin on and divide into about 6 pieces.
Cooking: In a large pot, layer the following ingredients: squash at the
bottom first, skin side down. Then add the pork meat, kale, beans, cubed
onions, ground corn. Spice with salt, garlic, bay leaf, pepper. Add 1/2
cup oil and 3 cups water. Cover with aluminum foil and pot cover. Cook on
low flame for one hour and a half.
2 lbs. coconut
1/4 burnt sugar or molasses
Grate the coconut. Carefully brown the sugar but control for over burning.
Then carefully combine coconut and burnt sugar to a little bit of water.
Next, add 2 lbs. of sugar and cook. When the mixture is just about done,
add lemon and mix. Remove from heat. Next, pound the mixture well for five
minutes. Flatten on to buttered surface. Cut out into square or diagonal
shapes. Let harden.
2 1/2 lbs. firm papaya
2 lbs. sugar
Cut the papaya into fine strips, then peel and wash well. Place the papaya
and sugar on on a slow fire until the sugar dissolves. Cook for ten minutes,
then set aside for a half hour. After a half an hour reheat at a higher
flame, until the mixture becomes sugar-like or crystalized. Shortly afterwards
remove from heat, and, using a spoon and fork, mold into different shapes.
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PUDIM DE QUEIJO
l lb. (1/2 kg) soft goat cheese (use freshest cheese possible)
l lb. (1/2 kg) sugar
2 cups water
12 egg yolks
4 egg whites
Grate the cheese. Boil sugar in water to the consistency of a thick syrup.
Add the cheese and mix well. Next, remove the mixture from heat and combine
with beaten egg yolks and egg whites.
Sprinkle the bottom of a pan with burnt sugar. Pour in the mixture and bake
in a double boiler. The latter may also be accomplished by placing the pan
with the mixture into a pan filled with hot water. The mixture can also
be baked in a shallow, buttered and floured baking pan.
Bake in the oven. After removed and cooled, cut into squares and top with
XEREM DE FESTA
(A WEDDING DISH)
4-5 lbs. xerem (coarse ground corn)
2 lbs. salted pork fat (try it with an animal fat substitute but you compromise
4 medium onions
1 lb. pork meat, cubed
Soak xerem over night in the following manner: cover xerem with water; add
1 lb. of pork fat and 2 onions. The next day, place the rest of pork fat,
sliced onions and pork meat into a large pot. Add xerem and a sufficient
amount of water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until all of moisture
is absorbed. ??
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