(ran December 2000)
5 lbs grated cassava
3 lbs chicken breast (and/or thighs)
2 lbs pork pieces
1 tin chicken broth plus 2 cups water
3 garlic cloves, halved
1 small onion, quartered
small bundle of fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 14 oz tin condensed milk
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter
1 heaping tbsp Crisco shortening
¼ lb (1 stick) butter, melted
A day or two before you plan to actually make the pie, defrost and drain the cassava in an open bowl in the refrigerator. This will allow the root to remain tender and remove some of the excess moisture.
Poach the chicken breasts and pork pieces in the chicken broth and water along with the garlic, onion, fresh thyme, salt and pepper until well cooked. Drain, reserving the broth. Remove the chicken meat from whatever bone and dice. This can be done a day in advance if desired.
While the chicken is cooking you can assemble the batter. Cream together the butter, sugar, and milk until fluffy. Now add the eggs one at a time. Season with grated nutmeg.
In a large earthenware bowl, blend well with your hands the egg-sugar mixture with the cassava. Now liberally grease and lightly flour and oblong pan (like a lasagna pan) with the Crisco shortening. This is to ensure two things: that a nice crust will develop along the sides and that you’ll be able to get the pie out of the pan once it’s baked.
Put just over half the batter in the pan. Put in a layer of the meats. Season again with salt and pepper if you wish. Cover with a layer of the remaining batter, Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Then cover with aluminum foil, reduce temperature to 250 degrees and continue baking for another 2 hours. Remove the foil. The pie should easily pull away from the pan.
The moistness of the batter really determines the cooking time. Don’t undercook! If you’re not certain, test with a cake knife. Clean means done. If more browning is required, simply broil for a few extra minutes.
Brush with melted butter and serve; or cool and reheat the following day for improved flavor.