Papa Rellena: Peruvian Stuffed Potatoes

Papa rellena recipe

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Refrigeration Time: 4 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
473 Calories
12g Fat
67g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 473
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 120mg 40%
Sodium 676mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 67g 24%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Protein 27g
Calcium 141mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Papa rellena, translating to "stuffed potato," is delicious comfort food, combining mashed potatoes with ground beef. A seasoned ground beef filling, similar to an empanada filling, is enveloped in a layer of mashed potatoes, which is then formed into an oblong oval shape and deep-fried until it's golden brown and crispy. Kids love this meal, especially with ketchup on the side.

A key ingredient in Peruvian cooking is the aji pepper, which makes its way into the filling, adding a bit of spice along with a subtle fruity flavor. Other ingredients like raisins, olives, and hard-boiled egg are included, adding to the authenticity of the dish. Papa rellena is an excellent use for leftover mashed potatoes, but the recipe does include steps for preparing them. It's important to note that the mashed potatoes need to be refrigerated for several hours before they are molded around the beef filling, so make sure to plan ahead.

Ingredients

  • For the Potatoes:
  • 3 pounds yellow potatoes (or about 6 medium potatoes)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon minced aji pepper or aji pepper paste (or minced jalapeño to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Optional: 1/3 cup chopped green olives
  • For Assembling and Frying:
  • 1/2 cup flour (for dusting; or more as needed)
  • Vegetable oil
  • For Serving:
  • Optional: ketchup

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Peruvian dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Mashed Potatoes

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for papas rellenas
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the unpeeled potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. 

    Bring potatoes to a boil

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga 

  3. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them in a colander.

    Drain potatoes

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  4. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and mash the potatoes thoroughly (or pass them through a potato ricer).  

    Peel potatoes

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  5. Season the mashed potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Chill the potatoes uncovered for several hours, or overnight.

    Mash

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Once the potatoes are very cold, stir the egg into the mashed potatoes until well mixed. 

    Add egg

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Make the Filling

  1. Cook the egg in boiling water until hard-boiled and set aside.

    Cook egg
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add the onions, garlic, and aji pepper and cook until soft and fragrant.

    Cook onions and garlic
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Add the cumin and paprika and cook 2 minutes more, stirring.

    Add cumin and paprika
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

    Add ground beef
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  5. Add the beef broth and the raisins and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until most of the liquid is gone.

    Add beef broth and raisins
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Stir in the green olives, if using.

    Stir in green olives
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  7. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool.

    Season mixture
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  8. Peel the hard-boiled egg and chop it into about 6 pieces.

    Peel hard-boiled egg
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Assemble and Cook

  1. With floured hands, place about 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes in one hand, and make a well in the center.

    Flour hands
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Fill the well with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture and a piece of hard-boiled egg. 

    Fill the well
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Mold the potatoes around the beef, adding more potato if necessary to fully enclose the filling. Shape into an oblong oval with slightly pointy ends, about the size of a medium potato.

    Mold potatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients; you should be able to make 6 croquettes. Coat each papa rellena generously with flour.

    Repeat with rest of potatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  5. In a deep skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 2 inches of oil to 360 F. Set the oven to 200 F.

    Heat oil
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Fry the potatoes in batches until they are golden brown.

    Fry
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  7. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towels. Keep the papa rellena warm in the oven until ready to serve.

    Fried potatoes
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  8. Serve with a side of ketchup, if desired, and enjoy.

    Serve
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga