Three Guys From Miami: Cuban and Spanish Food Recipes
Glenn Lindgren: Papas rellenas combine the great taste of mashed potatoes with a meat filling...

Jorge Castillo: ... all in a convenient, portable, easy-to-eat package.

Glenn Lindgren: So convenient!

Raúl: These are typically enjoyed by Miami residents from bakeries or walk-up windows (“ventanitas”). Most people rarely -- if ever -- make these at home.

Jorge Castillo: If you can't find papas rellenas in your city or town, they are easy to make at home.

Papas Rellenas -- Fried Stuffed Potatoes

By Three Guys From Miami

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
Total time: 26 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

Papas rellenas combine the great taste of mashed potatoes with a meat filling.


4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon warm milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 pound Cuban seasoned ground beef or picadillo (more or less)
1 cup vegetable oil (or more to fill the pan to a height that will cover half of the potato ball for frying.)

Boil potatoes until they are fully cooked. Drain. Mash potatoes with the salt about 1 tablespoon of warm milk (do not add any butter or oil!) and let cool.

Grab a handful of mashed potatoes, split the handful in half, and make each half into a little bowl by pressing in with your fingers.

Stuff the indentation in each half with the spiced ground beef (recipe below) or picadillo (recipe here).

Bring the two halves together and smooth to make a round ball, about the size of an overstuffed golf ball.

Mix together the bread crumbs and the flour.

Dip the ball into the beaten egg, and then roll in the flour mixture until lightly covered. Dip the ball in the egg again and roll in the bread crumbs to coat thoroughly.

Important: Refrigerate the balls for two to four hours before proceeding to the next step. You may also freeze for later use, see "deep frying" note below.

Use a frying pan with enough oil to cover half the ball at a time. Heat oil to the frying stage (about 375º F) and drop each papa rellena into the hot oil. Let it cook for about two minutes or until golden brown. Turn the balls and cook the other half in the same way.

If you have a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 375º F. place a single layer of papas rellenas in the basket, drop into the oil and cook for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Be careful not to overcook. Deep frying works best if the rellenas are frozen.

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How to Make the Best Cuban Seasoned Ground Beef

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup Green Bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (or vinegar)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup green olives

Sauté the onions, and green pepper until the onions are limp. Add the garlic, ground beef, salt, cumin, and black pepper. When the meat is cooked through, drain of any excess oil. Stir in tomato sauce and lime juice. (Add the olives and raisins now if you are using them.) Continue to cook for 2 -- 3 minutes -- until the mixture is heated through.


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