In Spanish there’s a saying that goes… “lo prometido es deuda…” meaning that what you promise is a debt you need to repay. And I promised you ever since our first ever KarmaFree Cooking Class I was going to give you the recipe for the Raw Yuca Casserole or Pastelón de Yuca Cruda and I had failed to do so… until now.
This recipe comes from Mai, Angie’s grandma. And Mai, may she rest in peace, was who taught us all to make this delicious pastelón. We were going to perform a tribute to her yesterday at the end of our Easter Retreat, but rain prevented us from it. So instead, I am honoring her by publishing her recipe for posterity and for all to enjoy.
We chose this recipe for our 1st ever cooking class for several reasons: 1) it’s different, 2) it includes typical flavors of Puerto Rico and 3) this is very similar to tasting the flavors of a yuca pastel, very typical during Xmas time, but without the effort of making into individual pasteles.
Don’t get discouraged by the name of the dish… the cool think about this pastelón, different from other pastelones or other yuca recipes I have shared with you in the past is that you do not need to cook the yuca in advance to make this recipe. The yuca is prepared raw and then cooked after it’s assembled as a casserole. Check it out…
RAW YUCA CASSEROLE
7 lbs raw yuca Annato Oil 2 tbs canola oil for sautéing 2 tbs salt, divided 1 can of coconut milk 2 cups of textured soy protein 1 jar of green olives and capers, pitted 2 vegetable bouillon cubes 2 packets of tomato sauce ½ cup of sofrito or recaíto 2 tbs Dry scallions 2 Bay leaves
- First you need to re-hydrate the textured soy protein in about 2 cups of water. For approximately 30 minutes. After the soy has plumped, drain it and squeeze it dry well. And keep to the side.
- While the soy rehydrates, we prepare the yuca…
- Peel the yuca and take off the center hard vein that runs thru it. Cut it into long pieces that are not too skinny. Wash it well and grind it using either one of these implements – a Champion grinder, a hand grinder or the grinder attachment on a KitchenAid mixer. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a large colander or even a clean cotton towel, because this yuca liquid makes the masa bitter.
- When the yuca is ground and squeezed dry, season it with the annatto oil, 1 ½ tbs of salt and the coconut milk. Mix it all well so it has a beautiful yellowy color. Set aside.
5. Now we move on to making the filling… In a large skillet, add the canola oil and cook all together the olives and capers, sofrito, recaíto, the 2 bouillon cubes, the tomato sauce, dried scallions, bay leaves and ½ tbs of salt. In the end, add the drained soy and mix everything together. Allow to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir every once in a while to avoid the soy mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and set aside.
6. Now we put it all together to make it look like a pastelón… Divide the yuca mixture in 2 halves. Spread one half on the bottom of a 9”x 13” baking dish. You won’t need to pre-grease it because the yuca masa has annatto oil in it. But you can if you prefer.
7. Spread the soy mixture over the first layer of ground yuca as evenly as possible.
8. Cover the soy mixture with the second half of the ground yuca.
9. Cover the baking dish using a piece of parchment paper secured on top with a layer of aluminum foil. Bake in a 350F over for approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Start checking the pastelón at the 30 minute mark and uncover it to make sure the consistency is cooked and the top dries and browns a bit.
10. Let is rest for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven so that the yuca sets and it’s easier to portion and serve into pieces.
This is one of my favorite pastelones. You can make the filling with anything you would like. I personally like to substitute part of the soy protein with mixed vegetables. It’s a way to give variety to the recipe.
I hope you like it as much as Angie and I we like it too… and thanks Mai for leaving us with a little piece of you though your cooking.