Flavors of Brazil featured a recipe from northeastern Brazil for tapioca filled with a sweet guava paste mixture. (The recipe is here). Although tapioca is made from manioc starch and not wheat flour, its culinary use in Brazil is not restricted to sweet presentations and recipes. Like the crepes of France, tapioca is just as likely to have a savory filling as it is a sweet one. In fact, people here are so crazy for tapioca in all its forms that they might just buy one tapioca, a savory one, at a tapioca cart, eat it as their main course, and then order a second, sweet one, for dessert.
This recipe is for one of the most loved tapiocas - filled with carne de sol, which is the sun-dried beef of northeastern Brazil, and with Catupiry cheese, Brazil's favorite cream cheese. Since readers of this blog who live outside Brazil aren't likely to find carne de sol at the market, here's a link to a post from last year showing how to make your own carne de sol at home. And any good quality cream cheese can be substituted for Catupiry.
The method used for making the actual tapioca (the crepe) doesn't differ depending on whether it will be savory or sweet, we haven't repeated instructions for making the crepe. They can be found here. This recipe will require two crepes, so you'll need to double all the quantities in yesterday's recipe.
RECIPE - Tapioca with Sun-dried Beef (Tapioca com Carne de Sol)
2 freshly made tapioca crepes (see above)
1/4 lb (100 gr) carne de sol (defrosted if frozen)
1/3 cup good quality cream cheese, deli-style if possible
1 small onion, finely chopped
Cut the carne de sol into small cubes, about 1/2 inch (1 cm) on a side. In a medium saucepan, bring about 1 quart (1 liter) of water to a boil. Add the meat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 10 minutes to draw out excess salt. Drain the meat and let it cool slightly. Reserve.
In a medium frying pan, melt a few tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes, or until transparent. Add the reserved carne de sol and continue to cook for about five minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Remove from heat.
In a blender or food processor combine the cream cheese and the reserved meat-and-onions mixture. Blend until the mixture is homogenous.
Using the method described h , make one tapioca crepe. Remove it from the pan and when it is still hot spread about one tablespoon of softened butter over it. Then spread half of the meat/cream cheese mixture over it and roll or fold it in half.
Serve immediately, while still hot.