Every year at Christmas our father made a cassava pie. It was always something we cherished, even as young children.
Cassava , also known as farine and yuca, comes from the cassava root.
The skin of the root is poisonous, and cassava should never be eaten raw.
IN THE RAW FORM IT IS POISONOUS.
There are two types of cassava, a bitter type and a sweet type. Both types will need processing to remove the poisonous substance in the roots, before the cassava can be used in cooking.
The poisonous substance in the roots is called hydrocyanic acid.
In order to remove this substance from the farine, it must first be cooked or roasted. Soaking also helps to remove the hydrocyanic acid from the farine. Cooking eliminates this substance and makes the cassava safe to consume once cooked.
For Christmas, this special dish became a beloved tradition for our family. Our father would make cassava pie every Christmas eve, just as the children headed to bed to wait for Santa.
Ingredients (Makes six 8”x8” pans)
1 ¼ lbs butter
3 cups sugar
15 eggs, beaten
1 ½ tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla
3 lbs. cassava
3 cups farina
5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and cut up (not shredded)
Retain stock after cooking chicken
Cream the butter and sugar, then add eggs, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat well. Add cassava and farina. Beat well. Grease pans with Crisco or Pam. Line pan with cassava mix followed by the chicken pieces, chicken stock and the remainder of the cassava mix. Do not put a thick layer of the cassava mix on the bottom of the pan. Save more for the top layer. Cook at 325˚F for 2 ½ hours if using the small pans, longer for larger pans. Add chicken stock frequently. It is better to make ahead of time and freeze uncooked.