Brazilian Spinach and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie (Escondidinho de espinafre com cogumelos)

Submitted by:
Erika Calvano Kuchler, Regensburg, Germany
Dentistry

Image Source: Author

Ingredients

Mashed cassava:
1kgo cassava frozen or fresh
2 tablespoons butter 
2 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt to taste
2 cups of any shredded melting cheese of your preference 

Filling:
2 packages sliced fresh mushrooms
1 package fresh spinach
1 small onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mashed cassava: 

1. If using fresh cassava, peel it first (frozen cassava is already peeled). Next, place peeled cassava in a pot filled with cold water and boil for about 15-20 minutes or until fork-soft. Remove from the heat, reserve about 1 cup of the water, and drain. While cassava is still warm (but can be handle without burning) remove the woody fiber from the center. Then pour the reserved warm water and mash very well using a masher. Stir in the butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Select the baking dish(es) and set aside.

Filling:

3. In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and then mushrooms; sauté until tender (about 2 minutes). Add spinach and cook about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. 

4. Spoon mushroom mixture in one single layer into the baking dish(es). Layer mashed cassava on top of the mushroom mixture layer. Finish by sprinkling shredded cheese on top of the mashed cassava, distributing uniformly. Bake for 10-30 minutes.

Serve Escondidinho warm by itself or accompanied by a fresh salad or steamed vegetables.

Background

My recipe is a vegetarian variation of the popular Escondidinho de Carne Seca (“Sun-dried Beef Shepherd’s Pie”) from the Northeast region of Brazil. Originally, Escondidinho is made from sun-dried beef topped with mashed cassava (manioc or yuca) and cheese. Nowadays, Escondidinho can also be made from ground beef, chicken, shrimp, codfish or veggies and it is always topped with mashed cassava. This a rich and delicious dish.

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