What Brazlian Jews Eat With Their Turkey | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

What Brazlian Jews Eat With Their Turkey

Serves 4-6

active: 
15 min

total: 
15 min

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In the United States, turkey is inseparable from Thanksgiving. But in Brazil, another former colony in the Americas, both Brazlians and Jewish-Brazilians gather to eat this native bird at Christmas. The tradition is to pair the turkey with farofa, or manioc flour, and if you’re looking for an exotic new pareve side dish for your Thanksgiving feast, you could, too.

Brazil is the second largest Catholic country in the world. The Jewish population is tiny, with no more than 150,000 people. I was raised Conservative in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where parties and celebrations are a constant way of living.

At Christmas dinner, when the whole country is celebrating their biggest holiday, I would get together with my Jewish friends and we would celebrate, too.

Today, my husband is American and his family likes to stick to the classics, but I’m always coming up with new ideas and fusions between Brazilian and American Cuisines, like this recipe for Farofa with Cranberries and Hazelnuts.

A root vegetable, manioc – also called yucca and cassava – is a Brazilian staple. Both Indians and Portuguese have been eating farinha de mandioca, or manioc flour, for centuries. The colonizers, used to eating stews and acordas, or soups thickened with bread, didn’t take long to take to this new thickener. Native cuisine tends to be plain, and farofa works perfectly as a complement to rice and beans. It adds a nutty and crunchy element to the soft combination, the way bread crumbs work in Mac and Cheese.

Making farofa doesn’t require big preparation: Simply melt some butter or oil and toast the manioc flour, whisking constantly with a wooden spoon. Then you add the rest of your ingredients. When I make it, I am so tempted to tuck in, I almost forget there is a main course.

Manioc flour can be found in any Brazilian specialty store and many Latin stores. If you visit my web site www.chefleticia.com, you will find many sources around your area or online. 

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons (25g) unsalted butter, olive oil or canola oil

1 ½ cup (260g) manioc flour (farinha de mandioca)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, finely diced

1/3 cup (36g) dried cranberries

1/3 cup (40g) hazelnuts, lightly toasted and halved

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Steps
  1. 1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over low heat; add the manioc flour and toast, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the flour reaches a lightly golden color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Set aside.
  2. 2. On the same skillet, warm the olive oil and cook the onions over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook another 2 minutes. Mix with the toasted manioc flour, along with hazelnut and parsley. Season with salt and pepper; pour into a serving dish and garnish with parsley.