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Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls, Papas Rellenas in Spanish, are basically portable meat and potatoes. These Cuban appetizers can be a little labor intensive but they can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for several days or frozen for up to 3 weeks. Papas Rellenas are great to have on hand for parties and get togethers. Everyone loves them!
Serves 6 to 8:
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes: Peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup whole milk, warm
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons heavy cream, warm
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon of salt or more to taste
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 pound ground sirloin or ground round
¼ cup dry white cooking wine
¾ cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground oregano
¼ raisins, optional
¼ cup chopped pimento-stuffed olives
2 tablespoons capers
STEP 1: To make the mashed potatoes, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in stock pot. (You can also use your caldero for this recipe.) Peel the potatoes and add them to the pot along with pressed garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes, partially covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are fork-tender.
STEP 2: Combine milk, butter and cream in a bowl. Drain the potatoes into your strainer, remove and discard the garlic cloves, and return the potatoes to the pot. Mash the potatoes just until they break apart. Add the milk mixture little by little as you continue mashing the potatoes. The mixture should be a little more firm than regular mashed potatoes. Once all the ingredients are fully incorporated, add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Set aside to cool. HINT: The mashed potato is easier to shape into balls once it has been refrigerated a couple of hours.
STEP 3: To make the picadillo, heat half the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper, and sauté until tender for 5 to 7 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef – the meat should make a searing sound when it hits the pan; if it doesn’t, raise the temperature to high for a few minutes. Stir frequently throughout the cooking process to break up any large pieces of meat. Continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes, until the beef is thoroughly cooked (no longer red). Drain any excess liquid. Add the dry white cooking wine, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and the remaining olive oil to the sauté pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Add the raisins, olives and capers, and set aside to cool.
STEP 4: To assemble the papas rellenas, coat your hands lightly with olive or canola oil. Gather enough mashed potatoes in your hand to shape into a 3-inch ball. Create a hole in the center of the ball and fill it with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of picadillo; seal it completely.
STEP 5: Roll the potato ball in egg, then in cracker meal. Repeat these steps with all the mashed potatoes and picadillo, trying to make all balls uniform in size. Place the papas rellenas on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
BEFORE SERVING: Heat 3 inches of oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Fry the potato balls for 4 to 6 minutes, turning them frequently until they are crispy and golden brown on all sides. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter. Serve immediately & Enjoy!
This recipe is ideal for entertaining guests or appetizers!
Recipe by Chef Ana Quincoces, for more delicious recipe visit www.imusausa.com.