Bacon, Cheddar & Cassava Stuffing
A lovely food memory of mine growing up was baked cassava with a little lime, salt and chili pepper. It’s an incredibly versatile vegetable whether deep-fried, ground into flour, puréed or even baked into a sweet dessert – my favorite being West Indian cassava pone, a thick, moist, gelatinous cake with coconut and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Yum! I craved it just thinking about it – will definitely be making soon…
Cassava, which is also called yucca, is a staple starch in many tropical areas. It’s found throughout South America and the Caribbean and is also a large part of sub-Saharan African cuisines. Again, building on the Thanksgiving-preparation concept, I decided to make a stuffing. I used the cassava here much like I would a potato – for it’s starchy binding effect, gentle flavor and texture.
The flavors that really pop in this dish are the salty, smoky bacon, tangy cheddar and green onion. It’s like a biscuit-turned-stuffing! Totally yummy and pairs well with just about anything. I’m not sure why stuffing has been relegated to holiday status – I would so eat this on any given day as my carb side. Enjoy!
Yields 1 9” x 13” x 2” baking dish
2 to 3 slices bacon, diced
5 tbsps butter
2 cups diced onions
1 ½ cups grated cassava
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sliced green onions, green and light green parts only
1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 cups day-old white or sourdough bread, cut into 3/4 “ cubes*
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add diced bacon and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until crispy. Transfer bacon using a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour out most of the rendered bacon fat save about 2 teaspoons.
Turn heat down to medium-low and add butter. Add onions and cook 3 to 5 minutes until translucent. Add cassava and garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Add green onions, cheese, bread, eggs, and chicken stock to onion mixture and combine thoroughly. Pour stuffing mixture into a greased baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the outside is lightly browned and the stuffing is warmed through. Serve warm.
*You want the bread to be a little crusty. If the bread is soft, lay the cubes out on baking sheets, and bake in a 350°F oven until lightly toasted (7 to 10 minutes).