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Papas Rellenos

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I recently prepared papas rellenos for a catering event and they were the hit of the night. Someone PMd me for a recipe so I thought I would share it here. A more detailed description is at my blog.

Back in 2000, I did a climbing trip to the Huascaran area of Central Peru, where I spent a month bagging 20,000 foot peaks and living off of high energy, but very inexpensive foods. I only took $100US with me into the town of Huaraz and that let me survive for the full month living off of chifa (Chinese) and papas rellenos...with lots of matè de coca. Each evening as sun set, the blinds covering kitchen windows of many homes would fling open with a sign thrown out that offered Papas Rellenos para 50 cèntimos. At that time, they were about 20 cents each. Most were the size of a baked potato and filled with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy picadillo. Although I ate much more than that, the papas rellenos are the strongest food memory for me of that great time. This is the first time I made my own to share with others.


I candy green olives with cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon peel. I chop them with dried apricots, and add them to a sauteed mixture of onion, red bell and ground bison (or beef). Let it cool to be handle-able.

Next, I make mashed potatoes, keeping them on the dry side, but mixed with 2 eggs, a bit of milk, salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Keep your hands very covered in corn starch and make a ball with the papas, flatten it, fill it with the meat mixture, re-form the ball, coat it in corn starch, and fry in hot oil until golden.

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