Mexican yucca meat pie: Pastel de yuca

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

The filling in this Mexican yucca meat pie is a classic picadillo, but ground chicken or turkey could be used, or chopped vegetables such as squash could be added or used without meat for a vegetarian version. The dough, which is perfect for the gluten intolerant, can be flavored by adding a few sprigs of cilantro to the yucca when boiling.

Achiote oil is a typical ingredient of the Caribbean region, but use vegetable oil if that’s what’s on hand. Achiote oil is easily made by heating vegetable oil or light olive oil, with a ratio of 1 tablespoon achiote seeds to ½ cup oil, just until the seeds begin to bubble. Strain and use in savory recipes.


  • 2 pounds yucca, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil or achiote oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 pound roma or plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives

Boil the yucca in salted water, with cilantro sprigs if using, until very tender. Strain, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Put through a food mill or ricer, adding a pinch of salt. Knead gently to form a dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 20 minutes or until completely cooled.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the juice from the tomatoes has evaporated. Taste and add salt if desired. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

With lightly oiled hands, line a pie pan or baking dish with half the yucca dough. Add the meat filling and cover with remaining dough. Brush top of pie with 1 egg beaten with one tablespoon water if a glazed look is desired.

Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting or spooning onto plates. This may also be served at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

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Published or Updated on: October 7, 2012 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2012
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