Rellenos de Papa is a delicious Puerto Rican dish. It translates to stuffed potatoes. This is one of those things that shows up at most family gatherings as an appetizer. It is not really formally served, it’s more like as soon as they come out of the pan, there is someone there waiting with a plate or napkin to take them. Little birds is what I call these people because of my baby girl. She always comes up to me while I’m cooking and opens her mouth and grunts until I give her a bite of something – but in a cute way :). When all of the filling is gone and there are no more potatoes to stuff, there is always one person who comes wandering into the kitchen saying “I smell something good, are you cooking Rellenos de Papa”? Sadly, the answer is “we were”. I know what your thinking. “Why don’t you just make more”. Tried that. We always run out. It’s because they’re awesome :P and warm your tummy :D! So, here’s the recipe, just don’t expect them to make it to the table! Happy Cooking!
Ingredients for the Meat Filling
1 pound ground beef (I use 93/7, the 93 represents the percentage of meat, and the 7 represents the percentage of fat-the package should be labeled)
2 cups sofrito
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Instructions for the Meat Filling
1. Make your sofrito. Do steps 1-5 for the potatoes now too.
2. Saute the meat in the olive oil with the salt, pepper and sofrito. Just put it in all together and mix it up really good and let it cook until most of the juice is gone and the meat is brown.
3. Drain any excess grease if you didn’t use 93/7 or at least 90/10 meat.
4. Allow to cool and put in a container, put it in the refrigerator while you finish your potatoes. You can also make this ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator. It will stay good for 4 days, but don’t wait that long because then if you have left over rellenos de papa their meat will only be good for what is left of the 4 days – I hope that makes sense to everyone! :)
Ingredients for the Potatoes
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Kosher salt or more to your taste
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
Instructions for the Potatoes
1. Scrub your potatoes clean.
2. Cut them up into pretty big chunks (I cut mine long ways once and then three times sideways).
3. Put them into a large pot (I use an eight quart) and cover them with water.
4. Add your salt (the iodized-I use 1/4 cup to seven quarts of water) and your bay leaf.
5. Bring the potatoes to a boil.
6. Allow them to cook until they are very soft. If you stab one with a paring knife, it should slide back off. You are looking for the same consistancy as when you make mashed potatoes.
7. Drain the potatoes and spread them on a sheet pan to cool.
8. Put your cooled potatoes into a large bowl.
9. Use a mixer to mash your potatoes, taste them and decide if you want to add the additional salt.
9. Add the eggs and cornstarch and mix well to combine.
10. Get out 3 plates.
11. Line one plate with paper towels or a cloth napkin if you have one, this one is for the cooked rellenos de papa, put it by the stove.
12. Set two plates whereever you will be forming the potato balls. One is to set the rolled potato balls on before cooking, one is to put cornstarch on to dip your hands in.
13. Fill your pan half the height of your potato balls (check out the video) – about 2 inches deep.
14. Put your meat and potatoes by your cornstarch plate.
15. Cover your palms in cornstarch.
16. Spread a small amount of the potato mixture into your palm.
17. Place a spoon of meat into the center.
18. Bring the potato mixture over the meat to cover the filling (again, see video, it’s not hard to do, just hard to explain :D).
19. Fry them at about 375° until they’re golden all over.
Please enjoy this “how-to” video!