Friday, March 18, 2011

Papas rellenas, the daring cooks' challenge

For the daring cooks' challenge March, Papas rellenas was on the roll. It's a traditional meal in Peru. I even didn't hear of it, but it was really really tasty. Crispy, spicy and tender. The recipe:

2¼ lb (1 kg) potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of olive oil;
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef;
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped;
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml));
 ½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes,    then minced;
 1 finely diced pepper;
 2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press;
 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin;
 ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika;
 ¼ c. white wine (60 mL), water or beef stock for deglazing;
 Salt and pepper to taste.

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten;

1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour;
Dash cayenne pepper;
Dash salt;
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs;
Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven) or a frying pan. 

For the dough:
Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred). Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed. While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:
For the filling:
Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes). Add the pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add ground beef and brown. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds). Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”
For the final preparation:
Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third
Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C) or heat your frying pan. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.

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