Les Petits Chefs make pastel de yuca with Rossy Earle

Rossy Earle Pastel de Yuca on eatlivetravelwrite.com
Pastel de Yuca – photo by Rossy Earle (used with permission)

Les Petits Chefs were thrilled to welcome Rossy Earle back for the FIFTH visit to our kitchen lab!  I can’t tell you how grateful I am to folks like Rossy – who are willing to take time out of their busy schedule to come and share their culinary knowledge and culture with my students.  This week she brought with her a recipe for a kind of Panamanian Shepherd’s Pie – perfect for the dropping temperatures at this time of year.

The topping (and in Rossy’s version, the base as well) is made with cassava/ yuca instead of potatoes which the boys were interested to see comes peeled and frozen… (they were also excited to hear that cassava makes excellent fries!)

Cooking cassava with Rossy Earle on eatlivetravelwrite.comThere was a fair bit of chopping involved – Rossy demoed each item – and the boys did a great job of making sure everything was evenly diced.

Kids chopping celery with Rossy Earle on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids chopping onions and garlic with Rossy Earle on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids chopping peppers with Rossy Earle on eatlivetravelwrite.comA few of us “got lucky” and got to work with the ground beef. Honestly the things the boys get excited about – one week they don’t want to know about raw meat, the next they are fighting to work with it!

Kids stirring minced beef on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe boys who chopped the veggies sautéed them in separate pans so the filling would cook faster when it was finally combined.

Kids making filling for cassava pie on eatlivetravelwrite.comMeanwhile, butter was chopped to add to the cooked cassava/ yuca. Mmmm – buttery mash!

Chopping butter on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd once all the components were complete, we got to assembling.

Pastel de Yuca with Rossy Earle on eatlivetravelwrite.comSome of us really liked the cheese topping. Ahem.

Cheesy pastel de yuca on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd for the first time I can remember, I sent the boys off with their “pastel” to finish cooking at home (although some of them were asking for plastic forks so they could eat them on the way home – all the components were cooked so it wouldn’t have been an issue but still…). Yes, this is the price to pay when you are overly ambitious with 12 boys under the age of 12 in a science lab in 60 minutes. However, I love that Rossy (and all my guest chefs) are ambitious. Raise the bar high and the boys will come up to meet it. Always.

At the top of this post, you can see Rossy’s own version of the pie – I love that she made it before she came so she could double check the quantities for the ingredients (dedicated!).  She also bought me two tiny pastels to bring home (plus I got awesome leftovers) and I can tell you that this is a dish worth seeking out. It looks just like Shepherd’s Pie but as soon as you taste it, you know it’s much more special. I know I will be making this again in the winter!

Thanks Chef Rossy for your willingness to come and work with us. We SO appreciate everything you do!

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Follow Rossy on Twitter and check out her range of hot sauces – SupiCucu.

5 thoughts on “Les Petits Chefs make pastel de yuca with Rossy Earle”

  1. Mardi’s last comment was spot on: she served this to me, and I took a bite and immediately raised an eyebrow. What was different, hmmm? Mardi told me before I had a chance to try and suss.

    I have to say – loved the variation. Distinctive flavour, “lighter” on the mash, if that’s not a contradiction. Bright undertones on the palate; but still a hearty autumn dish. Most definitely a repeater. (Thanks Chef Rossy for providing my dinner.)

    This I paired with a red, something also suitable for autumn. A Syrah from the Languedoc region of France – in fact a Chateau Canet 2009, which we just visited in August. For a Syrah, this one was lighter-bodied (relatively), and a nice match. The dish itself could work with a wide variety of wines…including white. A good Chardonnay with a bit of oak would be a splendid white choice, or a nice Riesling. Something with body, a little more oomph. On the red side, I picked my bottle based on memories…I’d probably prefer a nice Cru from Beaujolais – Morgon maybe.

    Hope you all enjoyed as much as I did, LPC!


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