Daring Kitchen - Papas Rellenos

The humble Russett potato
This month's challenge was a 2-parter, for the intrepid.  The ceviche portion of the challenge looked great, but it would be ceviche for one :-(  so instead, I decided to try and incorporate some seafood into the papas rellenos.  This is a Peruvian dish that is essentially a stuffed potato.  I made a filling with salt cod fish, peppers, tomato, and other aromatics and spices.  They turned out wonderful, golden brown, crispy on the outside, and savoury on the inside.  So, thank you to Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja for March's delicious challenge.

Blog checking lines:  Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

I found this challenge a great one to adapt as my family background is Caribbean and although we don't have a dish like this from the islands my family is from, I can appreciate the flavours.

Here's the recipe that was provided:

Papas Rellenas (de carne):
Makes 6
For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
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 aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for de-glazing
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 (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool. For the dough:
1. Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
2. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).

3. 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:
1. Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
2. Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
3. Add ground beef and brown.
4. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
5. De-glaze the pan with white wine.
6. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
7. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.
8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:
1. 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
2. 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.
3. 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).4. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).
5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
6. 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.
7. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

Ready for breading

My notes:  Instead of the meat filling, I made a filling with salt cod fish (recipe below), but the method for the papas was the same.  I enjoyed mine with some hot sauce.  Muy delicioso!
8 oz dried salt cod - soaked in water overnight, in the refrigerator - change the water a couple of times to help get rid of the extra salt
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 seeded and diced serrano pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

- Coarsely chop the fish
- In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and peppers until onions are translucent - about 6 - 8 minutes
- Add the garlic, saute for one minute, then add the tomatoes and oregano.
- Allow mixture to cool before using to stuff the potato

These are going to be great as leftovers for lunch tomorrow with a salad!


  1. Salt cod papas that sounds so delicious and they look so delicious well done on this challenge. Lovely colour you got on them.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Oh, I can see the salted cod being perfect in those - potato beignets with cods is obviously a delicacy! Your salsa looks fantastic too...

  3. Those look awesome. I'm thinking a bottle of Ontario off-dry Riesling would be extra good with those.

  4. I concur Holly (from a fellow wine aficionado).