An authentic recipe for the peruvian papa rellena making the switch from ground beef to vegetarian using eggplant. See step by step how to mix and shape these delicious stuffed potatoes. Serve these up as an appetizer or even as a main meal.
Bring a medium pot of water to boil (large enough to submerge tomato). Cut an “X” in the bottom of the tomato. When water boils, add tomato and cook for 1 minute. Remove from water and place into cold water. Easily peel the skins from the tomato then cut it in in half and scoop out seeds. Cut remaining tomato into small pieces and discard the seeds.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add onions and garlic. Lower temperature to medium and cook until onions and garlic are soft, stirring frequently.
Add the aji and cook until softened. Next add tomato and cook until tomatoes are just about soft. Then add eggplant and sauté just long enough to soften 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat, add raisins, egg, olives and cumin and mix well. Then add parsley and salt and pepper. Adjust and taste. Refrigerate mixture while you cook potatoes.
Prepare potato mixture
Cut the potatoes into cubes with the skin intact. Place them into water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. When cooked, remove from water and allow to cool slightly. When you can handle them, peel the skins from the potatoes and press the cooked potatoes through a potato press.
Add 1 T canola oil and salt and pepper to taste to potatoes.
Flatten out a portion of potato into the palm of your hand making a little dent in the middle to make room for the filling. Place the filling in the center and shape the potato into an oval with the mixture in the middle.
Place egg into a bowl and mix well with a fork. Dip potato in egg and then in flour to coat.
Heat canola oil in a pot until hot. Add potatoes gently to the oil and cook until the outsides are lightly golden.
Prepare salsa criolla
While the potatoes are cooking make the salsa criolla.
Slice onion into feathers and soak in cold water for five minutes. Drain off water.
Devein and remove seeds from aji and then cut into julienned strips.
Combine onions and aji. Add vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together ingredients.
Serve papa rellena with salsa criolla.
Tips for BEST results:
1. Don’t skimp on the aji amarillo
BEST OPTION: Use fresh or frozen aji amarillo peppers if you can locate them. SECOND OPTION: If not aren’t able to find them fresh or frozen, your next best option is to useaji amarillo chili paste. One chili is about 2 T of the chili paste more or less. LAST OPTION: The last option is to substitute another pepper such as the serrano pepper or habanero pepper. The serrano pepper is close to the aji amarillo in terms of its spiciness but it won’t have any similarity to the flavor profile of the aji amarillo. And the habanero pepper has a similar flavor component but is much, much spicier so you will need to use less of it.
2. Choose the right potatoes
My favorites to use when making this dish are called all-purpose potatoes and fall somewhere in between dry and waxy. Some options include: Red Gold potatoes which are red on the outside but have a yellow flesh and the more popular Yukon Gold potato.
3. You need to use your hands
The easiest way to flatten and shape your potato “footballs” is to use your hands, cupping them up around the potato with the filling to help close the gap and seal the filling inside. So pull up your sleeves, wash your hands and get your hands into it!
4. Give yourself plenty of time when making this recipe.
This recipe is probably not the best for a weeknight meal because it does take a little time and patience to make. If you plan to use during the week and time is tight, consider prepping them in advance.