Stuffed Potatoes – Papas Rellenas
This is a dish popular dish in Central and South America and is prepared in many different ways depending on the region. I used russet potatoes for my version but you can also use plantain, or platano maduro, or cooked yuca, also known as cassava or manioc. All in all, the possibilities are endless!
Makes approx. 18 stuffed potato balls depending on the size
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 quart water
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup pitted green olives sliced in half
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
handful cilantro, chopped
4 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. ground pepper
1 cup flour
2 cups bread crumbs
Salt, according to taste
cooking oil for frying
In a large pot, add the cubed potatoes and water and boil until potatoes are soft. Drain water and mashed potatoes into a puree. Do not add milk, butter, or liquid. Season the mashed potatoes according to you preference. Set aside.
In a large pan, add about 1 tbsp. of cooking oil and sauté the chopped onions, bell peppers, and tomato for approx. 7 minutes.
Add ground beef into pan along with the minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Brown ground beef.
Once the beef has cooked, add raising, green olives, tomato paste, and garlic powder. Stir over medium heat until well incorporated.
Fold in cilantro and oregano. Season your filling with salt according to taste.
*Your filling should be moist from the vegetables and tomato paste but not “watery.” If there is liquid at the bottom of your pan, turn the heat to high and continue to cook until liquid evaporates.
Place about 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes on the palm of your hand and with the other hand, press down to form a small patty. Take a spoonful of stuffing mixture and spoon over patty. With your free hand, close the edges of the patty over mixture and begin working the potato to cover the stuffing. Grad bit of mashed potato to cover any open areas until you have formed a ball.
After you made all of your potato balls, you are ready to fry. Add cooking oil into a large pan and heat.
Dip each ball into the flour, then into the eggs, then into the bread crumbs.
Carefully place each ball into the pan with oil and fry on each side until golden brown.