The last few weeks have been crazily busy for me and trying to get a lot of cooking done has not been easy, especially when I am trying to learn how to cook new dishes. Writing posts at the end of a busy work day has been almost impossible, so you will have to excuse my tardiness this week with my posts.
Today I decided to dig into my collection of food that I have already made and share with you a wonderful dish for a cold day. When I made escondidinho a few weeks ago it was not my best cooking day, to say the least. While cooking the mandioca (manioc or yucca) I stupidly decided not to use my pressure cooker and ended up burning my pan because I did not put enough water in to properly cook the mandioca. As a result, I only half managed to cook the mandioca. Mashing the mandioca became a whole other headache: I couldn’t properly mash the mandioca because not all had been properly cooked. So, to make a smooth mixture proved very difficult and I decided to use my food processor to help me out. Oh man was that a mistake. After successfully pureeing the first batch the second load was too much for my small food processor to manage and smoke started to leak from the motor. I quickly turned it off and decided to settle with a lumpy mixture! I am not sure if my processor is actually working properly as I have not dared to try it again; I couldn’t bare to have to throw it in the trash. Anyway, the mandioca part of this recipe proved to be a challenge. It didn’t need to be, I just had a bad kitchen day and didn’t have my cooking hat on! But, to my surprise dealing with the rest of this dish was a breeze.
So, with my rant of the difficulties that I encountered with this recipe over, let me tell you what escondidinho is. The easiest way to describe escondidinho is by saying that it is similar to a Sheppard’s Pie, but at the same time it is really nothing like it. Escondidinho is made with carne seca, a dried, salted meat similar to jerked beef, and manioc/yucca. It is baked in the oven and perfect for a cold night or with beer. From what I have been told, escondidinho is not a dish that is commonly made at home, but instead can be found in bars. Popular in the state of Minas Gerais and other states in the northeast of Brazil it is simple and tasty. According to wikipedia it mentions that escondininho was invented for two young boys, Adolfo and Norberto Canelas who were hungry and only had manioc/yucca and carne seca. Out of these simple ingredients was born this wonderfully simple dish.
Now, before I share the recipe with you, I have to be completely honest that this was not my favorite dish that I have made or tasted. Although I had the reassurance from my wonderful husband that I had done a really good job with making the dish and it tasted exactly how it should, I did not really like it. I figured out pretty quickly what I didn’t like about this dish and it was the mandioca. Mandioca has a slightly bitter flavor and although lots of people may like this, I cannot bring myself to enjoy the bitterness of it. On the other hand though, the carne seca was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t get enough of it. I think that next time I will put a european twist on this dish and make it with mashed potatoes!
But, I have not given-up using manioc. This week I tried out a manioc bread and it turned out wonderful. I will be sharing the recipe soon, once I have fine tuned it:)
Carne seca is not easy to find outside of Brazil. A solution that some people making escondidinho have come up with is using ground beef. Take a look at this wonderful recipe from Tiffany at A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt. Or if you are determined to make this the right way you can buy carne seca online.
Here you are, after all of my ramblings I give you the recipe for Escondidinho! Enjoy.
1Kg carne seca
1/2 cup milk
Put the carne seca in cold water and leave to soak for up to 24 hours to remove all of the salt. Cook the carne seca in a pressure cooker for approximately 30 minutes. When cool shred the carne seca and set aside. Cook the manioc/yucca in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Remove from the water, remove the hard fibre in the middle and mash. Add the cream and milk to form a smooth mixture. Set aside. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft but not brown. Add the carne seca, salt, and parsley. Sauté for up to five minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Using an oven proof dish put the carne seca mixture on the bottom of the dish and cover with the manioc mixture. Smooth the top. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is crisp and brown.
For a PDF of this recipe CLICK HERE!