The Daring Cooks #18 and we're going to Peru...

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges 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.

This challenge was great! Loved the Papas although I would be adding more 'spice' to the filling in the future - as I was preparing the filling and tasted, it was great but... once covered with the dough the 'heat' somehow disappeared and it wasn't spicy enough - for both me and and my Hubby.
I didn't make another part of this month's challenge: the cheviche. I would love to try it but unfortunately I don't have an access to a good, fresh fish and didn't want to try it with something that might give me an upset tummy etc. ... but I have it on my 'to do' list!

How to make it...

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) - I used more, about 12 in total, as I love olives!
- 3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped - I used only 2
- 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) - I used chili
- 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 deglazing - didn't use anything to deglaze my pan as I thought that the filling would be too wet
- 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:
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.

Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes). Add the chili 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 olives and cook for a few moments longer. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the 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.
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). Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C). 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.
Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately. I served with Mexican salsa (South America as well so why not ;) ).


P.S. Happy Birthday to ME!!! :) Yes, it's my BDay today! I'm... 18 + VAT ;)
And all DBs should know what I've baked for my birthday ;) and to those who aren't DBs - you'll all know on the 27th March!