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Cassava au Gratin

So after techrina (in some connected forum) requested for this recipe, it was decided something had to be done. I know someone who cooks this now and then & so I combined what I saw her do with what I know about preparing potato au gratin to come up with this. Cassava is widely eaten in Africa, being prepared in different ways and so I thought doing it a little differently would not be bad at all. Gratin is otherwise not an African dish.

So after techrina (in some connected forum) requested for this recipe, it was decided something had to be done. I know someone who cooks this now and then & so I combined what I saw her do with what I know about preparing potato au gratin to come up with this. Cassava is widely eaten in Africa, being prepared in different ways and so I thought doing it a little differently would not be bad at all. Gratin is otherwise not an African dish.

Ingredients

For:  3 Servings

Instructions

  1. Peel the cassava & cut it into THIN slices. They should be thinner than those in the picture, to ensure they get cooked through. This needs a very sharp knife as cassava is quite brittle. Cut the onions into thin rings.
  2. Get and grease the sides of a casserole or other baking dish with some of the butter. This keeps the contents from getting stuck to the sides
  3. Place layers of cassava slices in it interspersed with those of the thin onion slices
  4. Mix the flour with milk in a separate pan & heat it, while stirring with a whisk in such a way they get well mixed without forming lumps. Add the rest of the butter, pepper and salt
  5. Add about half of the cheese, letting it melt & mix thoroughly with the rest of the “sauce” and bring it to the boil, while stirring. Let this boil for about 2, 3 minutes to a thick creamy sauce
  6. Pour this over the cassava so all of it gets covered. Pepper and herb/spices of choice may be added at this stage INSTEAD, sprinkling them on top
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese evenly over the top. Place in an oven PREHEATED to 200°C (about 390 F), about 20° less (180°C) in a convection/fan oven and bake for 45 - 50 minutes. This should get the cassava cooked through & soft without the cheese getting scorched. One can cover the casserole dish with an aluminum foil before baking. You can test whether cassava is ready by poking a fork through a slice. It should easily go through a cooked thin cassava slice. Some bad types of cassava, even when ready remain relatively hard

Recipe notes

NOTES : Some people make this a little differently. Instead of cutting the cassava into slices, the cassava is cut into strips. These are then pre-cooked by boiling them until they start getting soft, before placing them in the casserole dish and adding the “sauce”. Pre-cooking very thin slices would not do however, as they easily break & it would get messy transferring them.

Some slightly pre-cooked vegetables, like strips of paprika, slices of carrots and/or broccoli could be used, being interspersed between the cassava slices as a variation.

This recipe is borrowed from “potato au gratin” as mentioned and the cassava could be substituted by potatoes to make “potato au gratin”.

Furthermore, if you have access to Maggi Fix for Au Gratin or similar products, they can considerably shorten the preparation time. It is just important to know “fix” recipes in which one has to pre-cook potato slices, that may not work for appropriately THIN cassava slices, because they crumble too easily. In that case, use stripes & cook them in water for a while until they start softening before transferring them. So some slight adjustments to the recipe to accommodate cassava may be necessary.

Good luck & share your experiences!

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