If we are going to talk about Peruvian cuisine, we have to talk about potatoes. After all they are the most common and popular side dish/starch around the world, and thanks to the old Peruvians who domesticated this plant over 8,000 years ago, we are able to enjoy it in so many ways. However little is known about the huge variety that can be found. Just in Peru alone there are over 3,800 types of potatoes! In some cases, certain varieties are only found in very specific regions and towns, so you can just imagine all the colors, shapes, and flavors that this special tuber has to offer.
So today I’m presenting a very popular Peruvian dish, which is often found with the street vendors and is usually served with a side of steamed white rice. However in restaurants you might find a more delicate version of this dish served as an appetizer with creole salsa. And as usual, I’m making a little variation to make it a bit more interesting by adding yucca.
Papa con yuca rellena (stuffed potatoes and yucca)
2 white potatoes (about 18 Oz)
2 medium size yuccas (about 17 Oz)
3/4 lb ground beef
4 quail eggs
8 olives (Botija or Calamata, sliced)
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp of golden raisins
1 large red onion
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 Tbsp oregano (fresh, not dried)
1 1/2 Tbsp aji amarillo paste
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup of canola oil
1/2 cup flour (for dusting)
2 beaten eggs
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
For the dough: first, boil the potatoes (with the skin) and the yucca (without the skin) in water for about 20 to 30 minutes. To make sure they are ready, test the potatoes/yucca with a fork; they should offer no resistance through the middle. After it is done, peel the potatoes and mash together with the yucca. Add salt, pepper, and the juice of one lime. Set aside.
For the stuffing: in a large saute pan on medium high heat, cook half of the onion and garlic with a Tbsp of oil for about a minute or until it is brown. Add the tomato and cook for two minutes or until half of the liquid part is gone, then add the meat and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, constantly stirring until it is cooked. Add the olives and the quail eggs, then 1/2 Tbsp of oregano and 1/2 cup of cilantro. Add the cumin , salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
For the garnish: Julienne the other half of the onion, then add the other half of the cilantro, the juice of one lime, 1/2 Tbsp of aji amarillo paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
To assemble: take the mashed potato mixture and using your hands (if it gets sticky, wet hands with a bit of water) grab enough to make a small ball that fits between your hands, then add 2 Tbsp of the stuffing. Cover and shape like a big egg, then roll the ball through the flour, making sure there are not spots without flour. Quickly run the ball through the beaten eggs and put directly into a pan with oil on medium high heat. Sautee until all sides are an even golden brown. Serve with the onion garnish. Buen provecho!