There is nothing to inspire thankfulness and gratitude more than sitting down to a meal that is all home grown. When all the sweat and worry is yours, when you have watched the seasons turn as small seeds became large plants, as chicks became pin feather-studded adolescents, and finally a flock of magnificent birds with copper-trimmed feathers, you know the fruits of labor and the incredible workings of nature that support our lives.
The Thanksgiving stuffing tradition in my family was always from store bought wheat bread. My grandmother always used chestnuts from her tree in the back yard, but the rest was bought at the store. Since we have been growing our own food, it always seemed strange every Thanksgiving to be roasting a home grown bird, with all home grown and local side dishes, and then to use stuffing made from ingredients grown who-knows-where and made in a factory.
Last year was an abundant year for the cassava, and I was inspired to create this grain-free, Paleo-legal stuffing recipe to reflect our locality here in North Florida. All the ingredients can be grown locally and are in season.
2 quarts of water
3 cups of cassava (also called manioc, or yuca) , peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups peeled chestnuts or pecans, chopped
1 large onion, or a few smaller ones, chopped
1 cup dried wild plums, pits removed (raisins or dried unsweetened cherries or cranberries can be substituted – or even pieces of roselle)
1 cup butter, ghee, or lard
1 clove of garlic, grated (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Chopped fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried
1. In a medium to large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the cassava pieces. Cook until they are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently sautée the chopped onion, dried wild plums/raisins or cherries, and chestnut or pecan pieces.
3. Meanwhile, season the boiled cassava with the garlic, dried thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. When the onions are soft, pour the butter/onion/nut mixture over the cassava and mix well.
4. Use like regular stuffing – stuff into a roasting bird or you can also bake it separately in a pan for about 20 minutes at 350F.
The chestnuts are easy to peel if you cut them in half with a sturdy knife and boil them for about 5 minutes. Drain, and immediately slip them out of their peels. There is more information on preparing cassava here
Wishing you a wonderful holiday!!! Thank you for reading here!