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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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

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This is a vegetarian take on the traditional Shepherd’s pie. Still hearty and comforting, but a bit lighter. The addition of smoked paprika and port to the lentils gives it another depth of flavor. The cauliflower mash is soft, creamy and cheesy.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

For the lentil stew:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 bell peppers, finely chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 ½ cups of beluga lentils

1 shot of port

1 cup of tomato puree

1 liter of vegetable stock

¾ teaspoon of smoked paprika

1 tablespoon of sumac

11/2 teaspoon of celery salt

Salt to taste

For the cauliflower mash:

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into chunks

½ cup of cream

½ teaspoon of onion powder

1 cup of shredded Gouda cheese

Salt to taste

Extra:

40grs of grated Parmesan

Chives for decoration (optional)

 

Start by making the lentil stew. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and leek. Cook while stirring for about 6 minutes. Then add the garlic, bell peppers and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. Add the smoked paprika, sumac, celery salt and some salt.

Then add the lentils, port and tomato puree. Stir for about one minute and then add the stock. Let it cook for about 40 minutes, stirring from time to time. It’s done when the lentils are cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. Adjust the salt and spices to your liking.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Boil the cauliflower until tender, about 8 minutes. Then drain it.

Blend (or use a food processor) the cauliflower with the cream, onion powder and salt. Once you have a creamy mash, add the shredded Gouda and mix until it is well combined. Taste for salt.

Place the lentil stew in an oven-proof dish and spread the cauliflower mash evenly over it. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Place it in the oven for about 40 minutes until the top is golden. Sprinkle with some chives and enjoy!

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Falafel with Beet & Potato Mash

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A couple of weeks ago we were doing errands around the city center and we got very hungry. A falafel place which we both like was not very far, so we decided to stop there for lunch. It has been ages since we had falafels and it reminded me of how much I like them. Since the holidays are approaching, I thought they would make a good vegetarian dish to serve. To make them a bit more festive, I served them with a beet and potato mash.

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This recipe makes 25 falafels.

Ingredients:

For the mash:

800gr of potatoes for mash like Russets

3 roasted beets, peeled and chopped

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt

For the falafel:

1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of coriander

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1 tablespoon of harissa or more to taste

1 ½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of cumin or more to taste

7 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

Extras:

1 ½ cups of vegetable oil

2 cups of panko

 

The night before, place the chickpeas in a large bowl with plenty of cold water and let them soak overnight.

To make the mash, first roast the beets until tender. I just wrapped each one in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and roasted them for 1.5 hours at 180C/350F. Then peel them and chop them.

Boil the potatoes until tender. Then peel them.

Place the cooked potatoes and beets in the food processor. Add salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Pulse until it is very smooth. You can leave it like this or if you want it extra smooth you can pass it through a sieve.

Drain the soaked chickpeas and place them in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients for the falafels. Pulse until everything is well combined; just make sure not to puree it. You still want to keep some texture. Transfer the mixture into a bowl.

Place the panko on a separate plate.

Start making balls with the falafel mixture, about the size of 1 tablespoon. Coat each ball in the panko and then flatten it. Repeat for the remaining mixture.

Pour the oil into a large pan over medium heat. Have a large plate lined with paper towels ready.

Pan-fry the falafels until golden on both sides. Place them on the prepared plate to soak up some of the oil.

Serve the falafels with the potato and beet mash, and the sauce of your choice.

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