Carimanolas (meat-stuffed fried yucca root), Panama
- gar3 pounds yucca root, peeled and cubed
- 3 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
- 2 large jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 8 ounces ground beef
- 4 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 6 teaspoons Essence, plus more for dusting, recipe follows
- 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
In a large saucepan combine the yucca and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash with the butter. Add 2 of the eggs one at a time, stirring well with a large wooden spoon after the addition of each until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and stir well to incorporate into a somewhat stiff dough. (If the dough is too soft, add slightly more flour 1 teaspoon at a time.) Let sit until cool enough to handle.
In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, thyme, and chili powder, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add ground beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Simmer, stirring until thick. Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning to taste. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
Roll the yucca mixture into balls, about 1/4 cup each. Using a finger, press a deep hole into the center of each. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of each ball and gently work the yucca dough around it to completely enclose.
Heat the oil to 330 to 340 degrees F.
In a bowl, make an egg wash by beating the remaining 3 eggs with 3 tablespoons of water. In another bowl, combine the remaining cup of flour with 3 teaspoons of the Essence. In a third bowl, place the bread crumbs and remaining 3 teaspoons of Essence.
One at a time, dip the "caraminolas" into the flour, then the eggs, then the bread crumbs to completely coat, shaking to remove any excess. Add to the hot oil in batches and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with Essence.
Serve hot or at room temperature.Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.