Many years ago I set off on a long sojourn through South America. I’ve been thinking about those care-free backpacking days a lot recently and one of the tastes I remember most were these baseball-sized Colombian snacks known as Papas Relleno (stuffed potato).
These meat and potato spheres were the perfect cure for a Colombian rum hangover in Cartagena all those years ago and hence make a damn good meal today for any carbo-loading energy-craving pre-schooler.
The problem is that while I have learned how to make them by imagination and trial and error I really have no idea if I’m preparing them properly.
That’s where I hope you guys can help. What follows is my recipe for Papas Relleno. Please let me know what I need to do to make it mas autentica.
What You’ll Need
1/2 lb of ground beef
1/2 Spanish onion (chopped)
One can of chopped and peeled tomatoes
three cloves of garlic, minced
A smidge of pimenton (what else? ..but I know this isn’t authentic)
salt and pepper to taste
10 medium-sized potatoes
butter (for mashing)
How You Make Them
Sautee the chopped onion in olive oil and the minced garlic for two minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the ground beef, the tomatoes and pimenton plus salt and pepper then simmer and reduce the liquid for 30 minutes. At the end the meat should sauce should be fairly dry.
At same time, boil the potatoes until ready to mash. Add enough butter to create a smooth but firm mash. Let the mash cool.
Now the fun bit.
Take a clump of mashed potato and shape into a mini-bowl. Fill with a small amount of the meat “sauce” then connect with another hollowed out potato bowl and shape into a ball. Repeat until you’ve used all the potatoes and meat sauce – you can probably get about 10 – 12 papas rellenos from these measurements.
Heat a deep frying pan with vegetable oil. Add the potato balls to the oil and fry, turning occasionally to make sure the whole ball is fried, for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the papas with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil using paper towel.
Serve with a light tomato salsa or aji if you know how to make it (I’ll explain in another post).
Okay, so that’s my uneducated but passionate take on Papas Rellenos. Amigos Colombianos…how should they be made?