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Chicken Soup From Cape Verde: Canja

Chicken Soup From Cape Verde: Canja

This classic chicken and rice soup has a long history that is deeply rooted in Cape Verdean culture. In addition to being a warming and filling dish, it also acts as a throwback, demonstrating the long-lasting impact of Portuguese cuisine on the culinary traditions of the archipelago.

Over the years, the cuisine of Cape Verde developed, fusing indigenous, European, and African elements into a distinctive and delectable mix. Canja is a perfect example of this blending of cultures because of its Portuguese and African heritage. The history, tenacity, and distinctive flavours that have moulded Cape Verdean cuisine over many centuries are all represented in this meal.

Preparation Time

1 hour and 10 minutes



1 whole chicken (cut into pieces)

1 cup white rice

1 onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/2 cup chopped cabbage

1/2 cup chopped kale or collard greens

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 bay leaf

2 carrots (peeled and diced)

2 potatoes (peeled and diced)

Salt and pepper 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil



  • Clean and cut the chicken into pieces. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the pot and brown them on all sides. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add enough water to cover the chicken in the pot. Throw in the bay leaf, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool slightly. Once it's cool enough to handle, shred the chicken meat and discard the bones.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot of broth.
  • Add the rice, carrots, and potatoes to the pot. Let them cook in the broth for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage and kale (or collard greens) to the pot and let them cook for an additional 7 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the soup before serving.
  • Serve hot, garnished with parsley.