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.

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