Purê de Mandioca (Creamy Yuca Purée)
For some Brazilians in the United States, yuca purée takes the place of mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. In Brazil, where yuca is indigenous and abundant, the root vegetable is often peeled, boiled and mashed. Milk and butter make the purée rich and creamy. This recipe was provided by Thailine Kolb, who learned the dish from her mother, Liomar dos Santos Paula Araujo. In Brazil, her mother serves the dish at Christmas, but Mrs. Kolb, who lives in New Haven, Conn., has embraced it as a Thanksgiving tradition. You can use fresh or frozen yuca, with similar results. If using fresh, be careful when cutting the firm vegetable and removing the outer bark. When using fresh or frozen yuca, be sure to remove and discard the starchy core before eating.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1pound frozen peeled yuca pieces or 1 1/2 pounds fresh whole, unpeeled yuca (see Tip)
- 1 ½chicken bouillon cubes (16 grams)
- 1 ½cups whole milk
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
- Chopped parsley or chives, grated sharp Cheddar cheese or black pepper, or a combination, for serving (optional)
Step 1Bring a pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Step 2If using frozen yuca, proceed to Step 3. If using fresh yuca, slice off the tips, then cut the yuca into 3-inch segments. Using a sharp knife, make a slit cutting through the skin lengthwise on each piece, then carefully and thoroughly peel off the outer bark and the white, waxy layer underneath using your fingers. Cut out any black spots, green veins or discoloration, all of which can be poisonous. Quarter the yuca lengthwise and cut out and discard the woody cores; rinse the yuca well.
Step 3Add the frozen or fresh yuca pieces and 1 bouillon cube to the boiling water. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the yuca is fork-tender.
Step 4Drain the water and mash the yuca in the pot while it's still hot. Make sure to pick out any remaining pieces of the starchy core. Add the milk, butter and the remaining 1/2 bouillon cube. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is creamy like mashed potatoes, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately, with optional garnishes, if desired.