Thursday, March 24, 2011

Papas Rellenas (Colombian stuffed potatoes)

Papas rellenas are very popular in the Andean and Pacific region of Colombia. They can make a perfect entree or just as a mid afternoon snack. They are very popular among high school and university students as they are sold at the school cafeterias.

Makes 8 servings

3 pounds medium white potatoes (about 6 potatoes)
1 cup cooked long grain rice
2 eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound beef french steak or beef loin
3/4 cup minced scallions
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric or achiote (Color)

Dipping batter

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup water
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric or achiote for coloring
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 cup vegetable oil to fry

In a large pot put 8 cups lightly salted water to boil. Wash and peel the potatoes and quarter, add to the boiling water. Wash the egg shells and place them in the same pot. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender (approximately 15-20 minutes).

Drain the potatoes and discard the water. Set aside to cool. Place the eggs in cold water, and peel. Diced the boiled eggs and set aside. Once the potatoes are cold, mash them with a fork or a potato masher just enough to make it smooth but still with chunks.

Wash and dry the meat. Dice it very finely and season with salt and pepper. In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the meat, cumin, beef bouillon, turmeric and garlic. Let it cook for 5 minutes stiring occasionally.

Add the scallion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons water if the sauce is too dry. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the cooked rice, diced boiled eggs, cilantro and salt and pepper, mix well to bring all the ingredients together. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Prepare the batter in a medium bowl, whisking all the ingredients until having a smooth mix without any lumps.

Filling the potatoes

Form half-cupfuls of mashed potatoes into balls. Flatten with you hands to 1/2 inch thickness. Place it in the palm of you hand, Add 2 tablespoons of the filling and close with your hand pressing and rolling to form a ball. Seal any breaking.

Repeat for each potato.

Heat the oil in a medium pot to 350F.

Place each potato into the dipping batter and drop carefully into the hot oil. Deep fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Serve hot with aji on the side.