Escondidinho in Brazil, cottage pie or Shepherd’s pie in North America, Pastelón in Mexico or Caribe… This pie is a casserole that combines yuca (cassava/ manioc) and a savoury filling – meat (ground beef – my family favourite), shrimp (my favourite), diced chicken, turkey, fish, dried codfish (bacalhau), pork, Sun-dried Beef/jerked beef (The famous Escondidinho de Carne Seca in Brazil) and also soy or veggies could be added or used without meat for a vegetarian version… The fillings are limited only by your imagination.
A true one casserole dish that can also be made from leftovers. You already know that I absolutely love casseroles, not only because they are delicious but also because they are easy and ideal for busy days. You can make it ahead and leave it in your fridge and bake it at the end of the day when you come home from work! It can be served by itself or accompanied by a fresh salad or steamed vegetables. It’s really up to you!
It is one of the most versatile pies that can be assembled. And if you don’t like or find the yuca (cassava/manioc) you can also make it using different types of mashed roots, like potatoes or sweet potatoes or instant mashed potatoes, as a substitute.
It’s gluten-free, the dough is perfect for the gluten intolerant. This is pure fabulousness! One of my favourites dishes.
- 1 kg Yuca - Cassava/manioc
- 1 tbsp Butter - or Margarine or Cream cheese
- ½ cup Milk
- Nutmeg - optional to taste
- Salt - to taste
- Black pepper - optional to taste
- Paprika - optional to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese - grated or grated mozzarella cheese or cream cheese
- You can buy frozen yuca/cassava already peeled or use a fresh one. I use frozen yuca for ease of preparation.
- If using fresh cassava/yuca, it’s important to peel it first. If you have never peeled a yuca root before, here’s a brief tutorial. Snap the yuca in the middle and make sure you have a white fleshed tuber (none or minimal black spotting). Cut it into chunks. With a knife, make a cut that goes through the white ring underneath the brown crust and lift it with the blade of the knife. The bark will lift up in one piece. Carefully rotate the chunk to continue lifting the white ring and brown peel. Once it is peeled, cut in quarters and trim off the root. Make sure to also trim away any black or green spots that may have formed on the flesh. Then wash the tubers. Note: Do not wash the roots before peeling them. This will be just too messy.
- Boil the yuca in salted water until very tender (fork-soft). I use pressure cooker to save time, it’s ready in just 10 minutes in the pressure cooker and about 30 minutes in regular pot.
- Remove from the heat and drain.
- Place cooked cassava on a cutting board and while cassava is still warm but can be handle without burning, remove the woody fíber from the centre. It is important to make sure to remove and discard fibrous centres.
- Place warm cassava into a large bowl, and mash very well using a masher (I use a hand mixer). Stir in the butter, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble and bake
- Line a pie pan or baking dish with the yuca dough, spread evenly with spatula or back of spoon. If you want it covered just use half, I prefer opened but in most of the recipes, it is usually covered with the yuca dough.
- Add your favourite topping: ground beef, shrimp, diced chicken, turkey, fish, dried codfish (bacalhau), pork, Sun-dried Beef/jerked beef (The famous Escondidinho de Carne Seca in Brazil) and also soy or veggies.
- Or filling, if want it covered and cover with remaining dough.
- Finish by sprinkling parmesan (or mozzarella) cheese on top distributing uniformly.
- Bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly around edges and lightly browned on top.
- Serve it warm by itself or accompanied by a fresh salad or steamed vegetables. Enjoy!!!
What is Yuca (Cassava/manioc)?
If you don’t already know what it is, you’re probably wondering what is yuca (Cassava/manioc). It is a long tuberous starchy root about two inches around and eight inches long. The root has a brown fibrous skin and snowy white interior flesh. Because it bruises easily, it’s often sold covered in a protective wax coating. Other names for yuca are cassava, manioc, mandioca, yuca root, Brazilian arrowroot, and tapioca (Starch/Flour/Perl).
They say that some types of Yuca (Cassava/manioc) are toxic if eaten raw, so always cook it.
Yuca (Cassava/manioc) root is native of South America. It’s widely grown all over Latin America and the Caribbean. The flour made of the root is called tapioca.Images from Wikipedia
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