Panecicos (Cassava and Pork Crackling Rolls) is an obscure dish of our cuisine, known better as roadside fare. Our recipe is a modernized version of this Tierra Adentro classic.
Panecicos are not something people make at home, if you’ve ever encountered it “in the wild” it was almost certainly at a roadside stand. It is also known as bobote, or chola, depending on the region of the country.
While I would love to think of myself as an intrepid investigative writer, traveling the Dominican countryside in search of hidden treasures of our culinary culture, the fact is that I am not that. We just travel aimlessly around the country from time to time, sampling the local foods and befriending perfect strangers on local colmados.
That is even easier to do if you realize how amazingly friendly and talkative we Dominicans are.
I originally learned from my readers about this dish, it was Dominican’s friendliness and openness that led me to find out how to make it. This is a pretty obscure dish, I have only tried it from one vendor on the road from Dajabon to Loma de Cabrera, although I have heard of at least two other vendors in the country.
About this recipe for yuca bread (panecico)
If you know this dish you might not recognize it in this shape, it is usually a square, flat, dense “bread” cooked wrapped in plantain leaves (you can see more here).
I tried that, and I honestly found it too dense, so I set out to modify this to make it lighter, prettier and easier to make for those of us that don’t usually have a plantain tree lying around. The taste is unchanged, though.
Panecicos Recipe (Cassava and Pork Crackling Rolls)
- 1 1/2 lb [0.7 kg] of cassava
- 1 cup of unsalted chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of aniseed
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 lb of chicharrones (pork crackling)
- Some oil to rub on your hands and grease baking tray
- Peel and wash the cassava. Grate using the least coarse side of the grater, or using the grater attachment of your food processor (which I did).
- Place the grated cassava on a clean cotton cloth and squeeze as much liquid as you can. Catch the liquid into another container.
- When you have finished straining the cassava, measure the amount of liquid that you extracted and add that same amount of chicken broth to the cassava (I used 1 cup of broth, amount may vary depending on the cassava you use). You may discard the liquid extracted from the cassava.
- Add butter, aniseed, and a 1/2 tablespoon of salt to the cassava. Mix well with your hands.
- Add the cracklings to the cassava mixture and mix well.
- Place the mixture in a large non-stick pan and heat over low heat.
- Cook stirring constantly, turning the mixture at the bottom until it turns into a darker, more translucent color (see picture of mixture halfway the process). Remove from the heat and place into another container (to stop the cooking process). Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400 ºF [200ºC].
- Rub oil on your hands and place 1/4 cup of mixture on your hand. Form balls with it and place on an oiled baking tray or silpat.
- Bake until the top turns a light golden color (15-20 minutes).
- Remove from the heat, serve warm.