Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas – mashed potato croquettes stuffed with flavorful picadillo (ground beef hash). They are fried to golden perfection on the outside while still creamy on the inside. Meat and potatoes join together to form the perfect appetizer!
Puerto Rican Papas Rellenas
Hey guys! I’m here with my monthly Puerto Rican recipe for you. And let me tell you…these fried potato croquettes are amazeballs. Like, literally.
Balls of mashed potatoes are filled with picadillo (a ground beef hash which is so flavorful it gives taco meat a run for its money), then fried until golden brown and crispy. They are probably my favorite Puerto Rican appetizer!
Puerto Rican papas rellenas, or rellenos de papa as they are called, have a bit of a story in my family history. I’ve told you before how I used to think I was Puerto Rican as a child, although I’m actually half Mexican [full story here]. There are many contributing factors to this misconception, among which are these potato croquettes.
Every year my family would attend the Mexican Festival in Milwaukee, WI. My mother would make a beeline past the mariachi bands, the jalapeño eating competition (and the grito contest!), the vendors selling street tacos and cerveza, and head straight for the Puerto Rican booth where they made these papa rellenas.
What the heck was a Puerto Rican stand was doing at a Mexican fiesta I’ll never know – but you can see my confusion, right?!
Well, one bite is all you need and those questions evaporate. Potatoes are my favorite food. I love them in any form, but fried potatoes are the best of the best by far. Paired with incredibly flavorful meat, it’s a combination that can’t be beat.
This recipe only uses half the amount of picadillo, so you can either use the leftovers in tacos or just make half a batch of meat. Or you can double the amount of mashed potatoes and have twice as many papas rellenas!
The trick to these croquettes is to mash the heck out of your potatoes so they turn gummy and pliable. Extra cornstarch helps combat any stickiness as well.
As always, feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com if you have any questions or hit me up on Facebook!
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- Peel potatoes and cut into uniformly sized chunks. Place in a pot and cover with water. Add salt to taste, about 2 tablespoons. Boil until cooked through and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and return to pot. Mash with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth and gummy. If potatoes are still not doughy, beat in one egg.
- Flour your hands with cornstarch and flatten about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes into a disk in the palm of your hand. Add a heaping tablespoon of picadillo to the center of the disk and bring the edges of the potato up and around the picadillo. Seal the edges and roll into a smooth ball. Repeat until all the potato has been used up, making sure to coat hands in cornstarch each time.
- Deep fry the balls in hot oil (about 350°F) about 5 minutes, turning as needed until they are golden brown all over. Serve plain or with mayoketchup or mojo de ajo for dipping, if desired.