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I’ve had waxy brown yucas on my counter for a couple of weeks.  There were so many things that I wanted to make with them – salads, empanadas, croquetas – that I ended up doing nothing at all.  My absolute favorite way of eating yuca is on Christmas day, standing around my aunt’s kitchen while she fries up perfectly golden batches of fries using the boiled yuca left over from Noche Buena.  Dipped in garlic aioli, it’s impossible to let it cool long enough before diving in, but worth the burn.  With Christmas months away, I flipped through a few books to see how I wanted to use the increasingly reproachful yuca I’d been putting off.  That’s when I found Alex Garcia’s recipe for yucassoise from In a Cuban Kitchen.  There is nothing suave about barklike, starchy yuca so I loved the idea of transforming it into a smooth, cold soup.

Yucassoise/Cold Yuca Soup

This recipe is adapted from Alex Garcia’s In a Cuban Kitchen. I pureed the yuca with the leek mixture beforehand and passed it through a food mill for a smoother soup.  The leek mixture can also be added after the yucas have been pureed before adding the broth and milk for a different texture.

2 to 3 small whole fresh yucas, peeled or 1 pound frozen yuca
Water, salted
3 tablespoons salted butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 medium leeks, white parts only, cleaned well and chopped fine
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Chopped chives to garnish

Put yuca in a heavy saucepan with enough cold, salted water to cover.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Lower to medium heat and simmer covered until tender, about 35 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain and rinse in cold water.  When cool enough to handle, cut the yucas in half and remove the stringy core in the center.  Set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat in a medium skillet.  Sauté the leeks and garlic until soft, about 12 minutes.

Combine the yuca and the leek mixture and purrée in a food processor.  If the yuca becomes sticky, add about one cup of the chicken broth till smooth.  Return the mixture to to the saucepan.  Force soup through a fine-mesh sieve or food mill back into the saucepan.  Add the remaining broth and milk and whisk over low heat till smooth.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Let the room cool to room temperature and chill for at least 2 hours.  Serve with chopped chives to garnish.

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