I love collecting street food recipes from all over the world, and this one definitely caught my eye. Papas rellenas are basically bundles of spicy meat, onions, and peppers surrounded by potato and deep fried. Common in Peru, they feature a couple of spicy Peruvian chiles I hope you enjoy.
- 9-10 potatoes (I recommend red potatoes, russets tend to fall apart in the fryer)
- 1 lb beef, cubed (filet is preferred, but I used a simple bottom round roast here)
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 2-3 Aji Amarillo Peppers
- 2 tbsp Aji Panca chile paste
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 hardboiled eggs, quartered lengthwise
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Step 1: Prep
Clean, peel, and boil the potatoes. Mash thoroughly with a stick blender. You want a very smooth consistency to the potato. Lumps, or other inconsistencies in the texture will cause problems later on when deep frying. Set aside for 20-30 minutes to cool slightly (cool enough to handle, but still warm).
Cube the meat, chop the onions and garlic, and dice the peppers.
Step 2: Filling
In a skillet or frying pan, heat about 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, and paste to the pan and saute until the onions are soft. Add the meat, and a half cup of chicken broth, stirring until the meat is cooked through.
Step 3: Construct
Pre-heat deep fryer to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Hopefully by now the potatoes are cool enough to handle, but not too cool. Roll the potatoes into 8-9 baseball-sized balls. Using your thumb, press into the ball and make a hole. Add a slice of egg, and fill with meat mixture. Add more potato on top to close up the ball and form into a roughly 2-inch by 3-inch potato shape. This takes a lot of practice, and I am still working on it, so don't be upset if your first attempts are challenging. The goal is to have a smooth, even cover of potato around the filling. Any cracks, thin areas, or holes will make them break apart in the deep fryer.
Once smooth and well-formed, coat in corn meal.
Step 4: Frying, the Tricky Part
Immerse the stuffed potatoes in 300 degree Fahrenheit oil for roughly 4-5 minutes. You will want to lift each potato out of the oil several times, turning gently. Remember, these are already cooked, we just want to heat them up and give them a nice crust. Lifting them up and out frequently helps prevent them from breaking up or popping in the oil.