Yucca, or cassava, is a Latin American root vegetable with a similar texture and taste of potatoes, but a bit more fibrous. Light and airy, the yucca root can be boiled, fried, or mixed into soups and other dishes. In this dish, we boiled and then turned the yucca into a creamy mash with loads of butter and heavy cream.
Yucca, a staple in Latin American cuisine, is also popular in Africa and Asia. Some of the ways people cook with yucca in Latin America includes adding chunks of the root that has been peeled to vegetable or chicken soup and stews. The starchy root can enhance a soup’s flavor and easily substitute adding potatoes. You can also puree the yucca and the other vegetables to make a thick, creamy soup. There’s also the popular yucca con mojo (garlic yucca), which is basically fried yucca with a garlic and citrus sauce poured on top. I absolutely love cooking and eating yucca and prefer it any day over a plain old potato.
It’s tricky to find fresh yucca here in the United States unless you live in a densely populated Latino community. Luckily for us in Los Angeles, they are in most grocery stores. Nowadays it’s easier to find bags of frozen yucca, where it comes peeled and ready to cook. The look of the unpeeled yucca root can be intimidating at first, but once you build up the courage to slice off the waxy brown peel, you realize that it is quite easy to work with and has so much versatility. Serve the creamy mashed yucca with a tender roasted pork.
Creamy Mashed Yucca
Yields: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 5 pounds whole yucca (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into 3-inch sections (about 5 pounds trimmed weight or 5 pounds frozen chunks)
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- ¼ heavy cream or milk
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
- Place the yucca in a large 6-quart pot. Cover with 5 quarts cold water. Add the salt and bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and cook covered until it feels tender when pierced with a fork but still keeps its shape, about 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook because yucca can turn into a gooey paste.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked yucca, butter, and cream.
- Mash until all lumps are gone.
- Add the seasonings of nutmeg, salt and pepper.