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It’s Saturday! I can’t believe how fast this week flew by. It just seemed like I blinked and it was the weekend. This is one of my more boring weekends though, because Mikey works. Our “weekend” really begins on Monday this week (he is off Monday and Tuesday!). We will probably go out to breakfast at a French bakery that we love around here either day. This Monday should be fun, because we have a little Millionaire’s Row cruise in downtown Miami. It’s a little hour and a half long cruise through Biscayne where we will get to see all the homes of the rich and famous who have homes down here from the water! I am so excited! 🙂
Anyway, one thing we used to do before going to that French place for breakfast, was going to a Cuban bakery. There, we would get different things like “empanadas” and “tequeños.” Every now and then, we would get a “pan de bono” or “papa rellena.” Those are some of my favorites! The other day, I was thinking about what I could make that was different and original when some friends were coming over, and I decided I would go with something Cuban (I don’t usually do this).
This recipe, although new to many of you, is something that is so common down here in Miami. No matter what bakery you walk in to, I assure you, they will have “papa rellena.” The literal meaning of this is “stuffed potato” and that is exactly what it is. It is basically a big mashed potato ball that is stuffed with “piccadillo”(ground beef).
The mashed potato is typically a little dry whereas the ground beef is very juicy and just spills all over the potato when you take a bite. These potato balls are rolled in egg wash and breadcrumbs and then deep fried to golden perfection. Growing up, I remember watching my grandma make these, but I never tried them myself. I always bought one if I felt like having it.
Well, the other day, I had made a ground turkey “piccadillo” and decided I would make a basic mashed potato recipe and stuff them! It was so incredibly easy, guys! I also had some leftover chicken salad and made some with that. And my favorite variation? I cut up some mozzarella cheese sticks and stuffed that inside the potato. After frying them, when I bit into it, the cheese just oozed out all melty and beautiful. 😉 You have got to try these! If you don’t have an ice cream scooper (the style below), I suggest getting one like this! It makes it so much easier to make everything even.
- Place all potatoes in a pot with cold water, cover and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender. Drain, add milk and salt and mash. (DO NOT add butter. It will keep it from forming into a ball). Set aside and allow to cool.
- In a saucepan over medium high heat, pour the oil. Then add ground turkey and cook until browned. Add in onions, green pepper and garlic, cooking until translucent. Lastly, add in tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Using an ice cream scooper, form even sized mashed potato balls. Flatten the balls out and add a tablespoon or two of the ground turkey mixture inside and then seal out the ball, rolling until smooth.
- When all the balls are prepared, crack two eggs into one bowl and whisk, and then add breadcrumbs in another bowl. Coat every ball in egg wash and then breadcrumbs.
- While preparing the papas rellenas, place a pot over medium high heat full of vegetable oil on the stove. When it is hot, drop a few papas rellenas in and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning every now and then until evenly golden brown.
- Take them out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to gather any excess oil. Allow to cool and enjoy!