Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RECIPE - Maniçoba

Have you got a week with nothing to do? Or do you have to feed a crowd of 30-35 persons next week? Want to risk poisoning all those guests if you don't follow the recipe properly?

If your answer to those questions is YES, then Flavors of Brazil would like to present for your consideration a dish from the Brazilian state of Pará called Maniçoba.

This dish, which is one of the most famous festival and holiday dishes of Pará is made with the leaves of the cassava plant, or mandioca as it's known in Brazil. Because of the poisonous cyanides in these leaves, the dish requires a week's cooking time, and isn't worth the time or effort to make a small quantity. Thus, even in its home territory, maniçoba is a dish that's generally only consumed at festival and religious celebrations, where the numbers of people make all the effort that goes into cooking maniçoba worth while.

Since main ingredient of maniçoba is 33 lbs (15 kg) of fresh cassava leaves, I'm not worried that someone will read the recipe that follows, rushing it, and kill off their entire neighborhood, extended family or parish. But I think it's such an interesting recipe, and one that has such a long and colorful history, that it deserves a place in this blog.

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RECIPE - Maniçoba
 Prep time: 1 week
Serves 35-40

35 lbs (15 kg) fresh cassava (mandioca) leaves
4.5 lbs (2 kg) lard
4.5 lbs (2 kg) smoked bacon, whole
4.5 lbs (2 kg) pig's feet, salted
4.5 lbs (2 kg)  pig's ears, salted
4.5 lbs (2 kg) pig's tongue, salted
4.5 lbs (2 kg)  pig's tail, salted
4.5 lbs (2 kg) pork loin, salted
4.5 lbs (2 kg)  pork ribs, salted
9 lbs (4 kg) carne de sol
3 lbs (1.5 kg) kielbasa-type sausage
3 lbs (1.5 kg) chorizo sausage
3 lbs (1.5 kg) linguiças sausage
9 lbs (4.5 kg) beef tripe
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Remove stalks and central vein from cassava leaves, then thoroughly wash in cold water. In handfuls, grind the leaves using the finest blade of a meat grinder. You should have approximate 14 kb (6 kgs) of pulped leaves. Put the cassava leaves in a 40-50 quart industrial stockpot, add water to cover, and simmer for 72 hours (3 days). Thoroughly mix 8-12 times a day, making sure that the leaves don't stick to the bottom of the pot. When necessary to avoid drying out, add water to the mixture.

After 3 days, add the lard and the smoked bacon, whole. Continue to cook for 24 hours. On the fourth day, in another large stockpot add all the meats with the exception of the sausages and tripe and cover with cold water. Soak for 24 hours, changing the water several times.

On the fifth day, coarsely chop the tripe, pour boiling water over it to scald it, and let it cool in the water. Remove the salted meats from their soaking water, wash them thoroughly and boil them for 1 hours. Add the salted meats and the tripe to the cassava leaf mixture and cook for another 48 hours (2 days) removing the pot from the heat while sleeping.

On the sixth day, cut all the sausages into thick rounds, then add them to the stockpot. Continue to cook for 24 hours (again removing the pot from the heat while sleeping).

On the seventh day, you can rest, as the maniçoba is ready to serve, with white rice.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora

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