Monday, March 14, 2011

Papas Rellenas

The challenge I face with blogging and cooking now is constantly trying to think of new and fun things to make. Usually it's not very hard and I have a good stream of ideas but other times it's a challenge to think of something blog worthy. So last month I joined a group called the Daring Kitchen. It has two sides, the Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks. Each month a challenge is hosted where all the participants are challenged to make a specific dish and then post about it on the same day.
I joined both groups and the first challenge comes from the Daring Cooks. Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.
Since Breanne doesn't like seafood I chose to just try out the Papas Rellenas. It was a great experience being able to research and try out a new food. The concept of this dish is fairly simple and honestly how can you go wrong with frying mashed potatoes? The texture of the crispy outside followed by the soft smooth mashed potatoes and then a savory meat filling makes for a wonderful treat. I followed pretty closely the traditional recipe provided, just adding some dried thyme to the meat mixture and then double dipping the potatoes before frying them. I had a half of a chili pepper and a green chili as well but I would increase the spice level if I made these again. I also made them a bit smaller and then froze some of the remaining balls before dipping them and I think they'll make a quick dinner some other night.

This was a fantastic first challenge for me and I look forward to others in the future!

Papas Rellenas



For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes, chopped in large pieces
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeƱo or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons water
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry or fresh bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)



In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:
Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred). Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed. Let cool

For the filling:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Put the beef in the skillet and cook, separating the clumps of meat with a spoon or spatula, until crumbly and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and transfer to a bowl. 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet and heat until hot. Add the garlic, onion and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beef, raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds). Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.
Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:
Form the potato mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter ( I used a cookie scoop and took two scoops and then formed a ball). Using your thumb or forefinger, make a little well large enough to hold 1/2 tablespoon of filling in each ball. Add the filling and pinch the dough to seal. Pat the seam gently, then roll the ball to make it smooth and round.

Bring out 3 shallow bowls, Put the flour in 1 and season with cayenne, salt and pepper. In another, beat the remaining 3 eggs with the water. Put the bread crumbs in the third bowl. Roll each ball in flour, then in the eggs, and then in the bread crumbs to coat.

In a deep fryer or deep pot, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Drop the papas rellenas in the oil, in batches, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve.


  1. I love the photo of all of the papas lined up, filled, on the pan. So cute!
    Great job!

  2. Those little papas are simply adorable, well done! :)

  3. Cute papas! Just the right size to pop them in your mouth. Great job!

  4. Welcome to the Kitchen! This is a great first challenge! Your papas are perfect - I wanted to do mini ones, but wasn't quite sure how to do it. These look fabulous!

  5. Your Papas look yum! Well done, great first challenge, wishing you many more :-)

  6. Welcome and hello to the Daring Kitchen and congratulations on your first very successful challenge I hope you have many happy experiences with us.

    WOW your papas look so delicious, and that photo of them all lined up is impressive! And the colour of them is stunning well done on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  7. Welcome to Daring Cooks. I can relate to your trouble always coming up with something new and blogworthy. The challenges will help with that for sure. Great work on your papas and I look forward to seeing your posts on our future challenges.

  8. Your papas look great! I was intrigued to see them lined up without the tops on -- they made me think of stuffed mushrooms.

  9. these look absolutely gorgeous and mouth-watering. i've never cooked Peruvian food before but this can be my first time. thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

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