Papa Rellena (Potato stuffed with Beef)

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This is a very popular Peruvian dish which can be easily made in any country. Traditionally it has a bit of Peruvian chili paste (Aji panca) but you can also use any hot sauce or skip it all together. I’m out of Peruvian chili paste at the moment so I just used Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper sauce. I also coated them in panko, because I find that you don’t get a nice even color with just flour. Plus panko adds crunchiness, so I am all for it. This is one of my childhood favorites and my mom still makes it when I visit her.

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This recipe makes about 7 stuffed potatoes.

Ingredients:

For the potato mash:

1 ½ kilos of potatoes, use starchy potatoes like Russet (or how it is called here: kruimige)

Salt

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the beef filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

300grs of minced beef

1 tablespoon of Aji panca, or any hot sauce

¼ cup of tomato puree

50gr of pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup of raisins, chopped

2 boiled eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Pinch of sugar

Salt

Pepper

For the salsa criolla:

2 red onions, chopped

2 bird’s eye chili, chopped

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Juice of ½ lime

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Extras:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups of vegetable oil for pan-frying

 

Boil the potatoes until tender. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps. Then cover it and start making the filling.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and minced beef. Cook until the beef starts to get brown. Then add the garlic and hot sauce, cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, olives, raisins, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring, or until the beef is cooked through. Then turn off the heat and add the coriander.

Place the eggs in a saucepan, add boiling water and let them cook for 8 minutes. Peel off the shells and chop them. Add them to the meat mixture and mix well.

Take about 1 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the beef filling in the middle and them shape it into a sort of football. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the stuffed potatoes are done, have the coating ready. Coat each potato in the egg, then flour, then egg again and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potatoes in batches. I like to do only 2 at a time because they get golden quite fast. And you need to be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since the are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them right away with the salsa criolla.

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Beef Empanadas & Cassava Balls Stuffed with Mozzarella

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The holidays are nostalgic and this year even more so for me, as we won’t be able to be in Peru for the holidays. But at least I can make some Peruvian food. Empanadas are usually dusted with powdered sugar, some people might find it weird but it actually works pretty well with the filling. The filling is slightly sweet because of the raisins and salty because of the Kalamata olives. We usually eat them with a squeeze of lime juice but I also like it with some salsa criolla.  For the empanada dough, I used a recipe from Epicurious. The cassava balls are usually eaten with a sauce made with Peruvian chilies. Since they are not always easy to find here, I thought of making it more accessible and just serve it with a sriracha-lime mayo. But you can serve it with any sauce that you like. I used mozzarella as the filling but you can also use any other kind of cheese that you may like.

This recipe makes about 17 small empanadas and about 25 cassava balls.

Ingredients for the empanadas:

For the dough:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon salt

113grs cold butter, chopped

1 egg

1/3 cup of ice water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the empanada filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

260gr of beef steak, chopped into very small cubes (you can also use minced beef)

½ cup of tomato pure

6 quail eggs, boiled for 3 minutes and then chopped

50 grs of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

A handful of raisins, chopped

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of oregano

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

For the salsa criolla:

1 red onion, chopped

A handful of chopped parsley or coriander

Juice of half a lime

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Chili to taste, chopped

Extras for the empanadas:

Egg wash

Powdered sugar for dusting

Lime wedges

 

To make the empanada dough:

Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until the butter is mixed in and it resembles sand. Then add the egg, water and vinegar. Mix until you have an even dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.

To make the empanada filling:

In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the beef and garlic. Cook until the beef is seared and then add the tomato puree, Kalamata, raisins, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the water from the tomato puree has evaporated and has become more of a paste. Turn off the heat and add the chopped quail eggs and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Allow it to cool down until ready to use.

Once the dough has chilled in the fridge for one hour, take it out and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 1 piece out in your floured working area, don’t roll it out too thin though as the empanadas might break while baking. Using a 9cm round mold, cut as many circles as you can.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each circle and then close it into half a moon. Pinch the edges with your fingers to seal them. Then using a fork, finch the edges again. Repeat for all.

Brush each empanada with some egg wash. Bake them till golden, about 20 minutes.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Dust the empanadas with some powdered sugar. Serve them with the salsa criolla and lime wedges.

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Ingredients for the cassava balls stuffed with mozzarella:

1 kilo of cassava

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of melted butter

30grs of grated Parmesan

Salt to taste

A good pinch of garlic powder

A good pinch of onion powder

4 tablespoons of flour

200grs of mozzarella, cut into small cubes or any other cheese that you may like

For the coating:

2 beaten eggs

1 ½ cups of panko, mixed with salt

1 ½ cups of flour, mixed with salt

For the sriracha-lime mayo:

1/3 of a cup of Sriracha

1/3 of a cup of Mayonnaise

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon of honey

Extras:

1 liter of vegetable oil for frying

 

To make the cassava balls:

To make the sriracha-lime mayo, just mix all of the ingredients in bowl. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Peel the cassava and chop it into large pieces. Place it in a large saucepan and add boiling water. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Once the cassava is cooked, remove the tough stem that it has in the middle. Mash it until smooth while it is still warm. Add the butter, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Mix well and taste to see if it has enough salt. Then add the egg yolks and flour, and mix it with your hands until you have a kind of dough.

Grab about 1 tablespoon of the cassava dough, make it into a ball and then flatten it with your hands. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and then make it into a ball again. Repeat for all.

Have the beaten eggs, flour and panko ready in separate bowls.

Coat each cassava ball in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, start frying the casaba balls in batches until they are golden. Just make sure the oil is not too hot, otherwise they will turn golden too quick without the cheese melting in the inside. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels. You can place them in the oven at 120C/250F to keep them warm until all of them are fried.

Serve them with the sriracha-lime mayo or the sauce of your choice.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Korean Style Nachos

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Last month I tried Korean fried chicken for the first time and I was amazed by the sauce it is covered in. I was talking about it with my friend Kaile who has more knowledge about it and she was telling me how this sauce goes well on pretty much anything. I was so excited when she brought me a pot of it when she came over for cake the other day. I couldn’t wait to try it. Nachos have been on my cravings list for a few weeks now and I finally made them for dinner yesterday. It was also the perfect day to make them as I actually didn’t feel like cooking at all. But since it is such a simple and quick recipe, I just went for it.

By the way, Kaile has her own blog about beauty and fashion. I really love her style and her photography is really a treat for the eyes. It is called Kaile Chung. You can check it out by clicking here.

This recipe serves 2 (for dinner).

Ingredients:

For the beef:

400gr of minced beef

2 tablespoons of chopped ginger

¼ teaspoon of onion powder

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 ½ tablespoons of sesame oil

4 tablespoons of Korean chili paste (Gochujang)

2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of honey

Vegetable oil for cooking the meat, about 2 tablespoons

For the rest:

1 large bag of tortilla chips, about 200gr

200ml Sour cream

200gr shredded cheese, I used Gouda

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced

2 red chili peppers, thinly sliced

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

 

First cook the meat, add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the minced meat, ginger, onion and garlic powder. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the sesame oil, Korean chili paste and honey. Keep stirring until the meat is cooked through. This will only take a few extra minutes. Then turn off the heat and add the sesame seeds and stir until they are mixed through. Here you should taste for salt; I didn’t think it needed any so I skipped it.

Set your oven to broil.

Arrange the tortilla chips in an oven dish or cast iron skillet. Spread the cheese over the tortillas, and then add the minced meat. I added a bit more cheese on top of the meat. Then place it in the oven until the cheese melts. This will only take a couple of minutes, check it so it doesn’t burn.

Once the cheese has melted, remove the nachos from the oven. Top with some sour cream and finally add some slices of jalapeno, red chili pepper and spring onions.  Eat right away.

Burger sliders stuffed with Bacon Jam

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A while ago I saw a recipe for bacon jam on Food52. It just looked too good not to try it out. And OMG is it good.  You can eat it with toast or about anything else (I also like to top a soft boiled egg with it). I decided to stuff some hamburger sliders with it. It’s a nice, salty and sweet surprise to find once you take a bite of what it looks like a normal mini burger.  And now that summer weather is coming our way and BBQ season is starting, this is a nice dish to have in mind for entertaining friends.

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This recipe makes 8 sliders.

Ingredients for the bacon jam:

300gr of smoked bacon slices, diced

2 medium white onions, diced

½ teaspoon of paprika powder

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

¾ cup of Guinness beer

Ingredients for the burger:

500gr of minced beef

1 white onion, grated

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1 egg yolk

Toppings for the burger:

150gr gorgonzola

2 avocados

Ketchup

 

For the bacon jam:

Cook the bacon pieces in a pan until they are crispy. This will take about 8 minutes. Reserve only 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to cook the onions.

Cook the onions over medium heat in the bacon fat until they become translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Then add the paprika powder, garlic and maple syrup.  Add the sugar and stir, until it dissolves.  Then add the vinegar and beer.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Add the bacon and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid has started to reduce and thicken.

Turn off the heat and allow it to cool down in the pan.  Once it has cooled down, place it in the blender and blend to your desired consistency. I like it with still a bite to it. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, even though I doubt it will last that long. It’s too good not to finish it in a few days.

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For the burgers:

Pour the olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Add the grated onions, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Cook until the liquid starts to reduce, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place the minced beef in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper and the egg yolk. Then add the onion mixture and mix it well. Form mini burger patties with your hands.  Grab some of the minced meat mixture, make a ball with your hands and then flatten it. Place about one teaspoon of the bacon jam in the middle and then form the meat mixture into a ball again.  Repeat until all your patties are formed. This will make about 8 mini patties.

Pour a bit of olive oil on a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sliders for about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, or more time if you prefer them well done.   Serve the patties with the buns and top with some gorgonzola, avocado and ketchup.

I also made the mini hamburger buns from scratch, just click here to check out the recipe.

Corn Pie with Beef (Pastel de Choclo con Carne)

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Living abroad I miss my family of course. But the second thing I miss the most is the food. I realize now, how spoiled (in terms of food) I was growing up. By that I mean; Peru is such a rich agricultural country. I grew up eating a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, seafood, etc. If there is something all Peruvians have in common is pride in our cuisine. I love to cook so of course, I find myself not missing everything. The things I can recreate here, I do make. But things like eating a fresh mango or making a truly Peruvian ceviche, I can’t. The mangos that you find here are shipped still green and of course you can taste the difference. And a ceviche without the very sour Peruvian lime, can be nice, but is not amazing. I remember when I was taking a cooking course in Lyon, one of the French chefs told me he smuggled some Peruvian lime in his suitcase.

One of the things I miss is our corn. The texture and flavor is very different to the yellow one you find everywhere else in the world. I miss eating it just boiled with some chili sauce on top. This is what it looks like:

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This corn pie is very popular in Chile and Peru. I loved eating it for the ‘lonche’ (tea time). Since in Peru you have dinner quite late.  I used to have dinner at around 9pm. Now whenever we are in Lima. We want to eat earlier, since here we eat at 6pm. My mom always jokes and calls me a granny for eating so early.  At least we beat the crowds whenever we are there and we want to dine out.

I have been making this recipe for years and if I make it in Peru, I don’t need to add the corn meal. The texture of the Peruvian corn is dense enough to hold the rest of the ingredients. But here, using the yellow corn, I do need to add some corn meal, otherwise the mixture is too soggy. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, cook the meat mixture in a pan and then assemble the dish like a shepherd’s pie in an oven dish. The filling is usually made with minced meat. But it is nicer to make it with steak if you can.

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Ingredients:

For the beef filling:

450gr beef steak, diced

1 red onion, chopped

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 teaspoon of sugar

¼ cup raisins

2 boiled eggs, chopped

Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

For the corn mixture:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 white onion, chopped

4 fresh corns on the cob

250ml cream

10 tablespoons of corn meal

1 tablespoon of sriracha sauce

40gr grated Parmesan

1 egg

Salt

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, sear the meat. Then add the onions, tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the minced garlic, raisins, olives, sugar, boiled eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until everything is mixed. Then turn off the heat and set aside.

Remove the corn kernels from the cob. Place the kernels in a blender along with the cream and corn meal.  Blend it until everything is combined.

In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Over medium heat, cook the white onion until translucent. Add the corn mixture, sriracha and salt. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You want it to thicken and to dry a bit. After the 4 minutes are done, turn off the heat. Off the heat, add the egg and parmesan. Stir until everything is combined.

Pour the corn mixture over the meat in the skillet. Make sure to spread it out so it covers the whole surface of the skillet. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm.