Introduction: Yuca Fries Made With Lard
Yuca is a starchy root that fries up beautifully.
Here's the short form of the yuca fries recipe:
Skin, chop into sticks, and parboil yuca for 15 - 20 minutes in salty water; drain
Fry in lard at 350 F until golden brown
I prefer using lard to industrially processed seed oil, such as corn, peanut, or canola oils, because I can render the lard myself and talk with the farmer who raised the pig about what it ate and how it lived. Plus, the fries just taste better fried in lard.
Step 1: Ingredients
Yuca and enough lard to fry it. The second image shows some of the yuca after peeling their skin.
Step 2: Render Lard
The fat shown here is from a Mangalitsa pig, a furry pig bred for sweet-tasting lard. We got the pig from Suisun Valley Farms, and Christy butchered the pig at home. We rendered the lard using the dry method, where the fat is chopped up and heated by itself. Rendering via the wet method, where the lard is boiled in water and skimmed off the top, apparently yields lard with a higher smoke point. Frying at 350 F, the lard didn't smoke, but next time we'll probably try the wet method.
This amount of fat yielded 6.7 L of lard, which serendipitously filled the fryer. It took a full day of chopping, simmering, and filtering to render this amount. Once the fat was chopped, we let it simmer and added more to be filtered or changed the filters about every 30 minutes.
Step 3: Parboil Yuca
Skin the yuca, cut it into sticks, and parboil it in slightly salty water.
I found that 15 minutes of cooking at a simmer yielded fries with a fluffy center. Boiling longer (20 minutes+) resulted in delicate strings on the surfaces of the sticks that fried up with plenty of crunch.
Step 4: Fill Fryer
6.7 L of lard filled the fryer to the minimum mark.
Step 5: Fry
We fried at 350 F, and waited for the oil to come back to temperature between batches. Frying took approximately 5 minutes to reach golden brown. After frying, the yuca was allowed to drip over the hot oil for a minute and then blotted on paper towels.
Step 6: Serve
We served the yuca fries with a lemon aioli, and with several other fried delicacies. When you've got hot lard, it's imperative to also fry brussel sprouts and plantains.