Chopping vegetables and peeling potatoes is dull, uninteresting work. My mind often wanders and often to the same subjects. One of those happens to be the quality of my vegetable chopping. I’m not exactly a talented slicer or mincer. My knife technique leaves much to be desired. I compare it to the years I spent sitting at a desk making oboe reeds, a task that requires precision knife work down to the .001 mm; you’d think I’d be adept at handling knives.
But I guess that was more of a scraping motion where this is chopping, cutting, slicing. Usually my fingers.
So I tend to go for dishes that don’t require pretty cutting, slicing, or chopping. Because I can’t do it. Oh, I could learn. I could buy a professional set of knives and read up about technique, maybe even taking a cooking class. I could simply pay attention…
But wait… what were we talking about?
Papas Rellenas. Oh yes. I made these for me and my husband when he came to visit in November and this weekend I had a craving for something filling and fried. In case you’re not up and up on your Spanish-American cooking vocabulary (don’t be ashamed, I’m certainly not) they are simple fried potato balls stuffed with – something.
That is to say, you can stuff them with anything you like. SpicieFoodie, who I got the recipe from, stuffed hers with Mexican chorizo. Spanish chorizo, which I used here, is different. Spanish chorizo is a hard, dry sausage while Mexican chorizo, I’m told, is more of a crumbly meat, dare I say, mince? Anyway you can read about it here.
I stuck with my Spanish chorizo and added zucchini, eggplant, mushroom, onion and garlic. This is a flavor combination I love on top of pasta mixed with fresh tomatoes, so I knew it would work in the Papas Rellenas.
One thing I’ve been doing, that’s probably somewhat unorthodox is rolling my potato balls in corn starch rather than normal flour. This gives the papas a much lighter outer crust and probably makes them harder to fry, but I did it anyway.
For me, the outer crunchy texture is only the beginning. I love the soft texture of the mashed potatoes with slight crisp vegetables and spicy chorizo. It’s an amazing combination that warms my stomach on cold winter days. Stick to the ribs food, at the same time not too heavy so that you can get through an afternoon of studying without wanting to have a siesta.
- 300g potatoes
- 40g Spanish chorizo
- 65g eggplant
- 30g mushrooms
- 50g zucchini
- 25g onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup cornstarch or flour
- oil for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and chop potatoes. Boil them in a large pot of water until tender and can be pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, chop all vegetables and chorizo into small bite-sized pieces. Separate the chorizo from the vegetables. In a large frying pan heat up just a bit of oil and sautée the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. About two minutes before the vegetables are finished add the chorizo and continue cooking until the chorizo has started to release it’s aromas and the vegetables are cooked. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Mash the potatoes in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher. Salt potatoes to taste.*
- Using your hands form a pancake of potato in your palm and place a small amount of the vegetable-chorizo mixture in the center. Wrap the potato around the vegetables to form a ball and roll the ball in the cornstarch/flour. Continue until all the potato has been used.
- Heat enough oil in a pan to fry the potato balls. Gently place the balls in the pan and fry for about 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly before eating.