Papas Rellenas: Stuffed Potatoes

6 Nov

Print the recipe page!  papas rellanas

Today’s recipe is a food storage version of Peru’s delicious Papas Rellenas.  Papa… what??  If you haven’t had these before, let me fill you in.   Unsure what to order at a Peruvian restaurant, these were suggested to me by a waiter once and I’ve loved and ordered them ever since — so you know, I’m like an expert and all.  In a nut shell, we’re talking about mashed potatoes stuffed with a ground beef empanada- type filling, formed into fun little “faux potatoes”, breaded and (usually) fried to crisp.  Yummy.  Except at home I opt to bake rather than fry them.  They’re healthier this way, but really I bake them mostly because I don’t want to store the extra oil.  And one of these days (though not today, thank you storm clouds) I’m going to see if they’ll work in my sun oven.  I think they will if I have a good hot day.

Kids love these!  They’re great for dipping, so if you’ve got a kid who likes to dip — and what kid doesn’t — they’ll probably like them.  Also, there are lots of recipes to be found online for vegetarian fillings using various grains and beans rather than meat if you want to go that route.  Thank you, Peru (and I’m sure other countries too), for pappas rellenas!

serves 6



Potato Mixture

3 cups dry potato flakes

3 cups boiling water

1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. salt



1 lb. ground beef (2 1/2 cups if using freeze dried, rehydrated with 2 cups warm water)

3/4 cup freeze dried onion flakes (rehydrated with 1/2 cup water)

1 large slice of bread, de-crusted and cut into quarters

1/2 tsp. chicken boullion

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. chili pepper

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

(these next 4 ingredients are traditional but optional — my kids like it better when I leave them out)

1 TBS dried cilantro

1/3 cup raisins (or one individual sized box of raisins)

1/3 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar



1/2 cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 TBS whole egg powder

1/2 cup + 1 TBS water

1/2 cup bread crumbs (*see notes)



For the Filling:

Rehydrate freeze dried onions and freeze dried ground beef with required water 20 minutes.  Process slice of bread combined with 2 TBS remaining water from rehydrated onions (using either a food processor or a manual food mill) until paste forms.

Drain rehydrated ground beef, reserving 1/2 cup of it’s remaining water.  To the rehydrated beef add the bread paste, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Cook rehydrated onions in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring in garlic, cumin, chili pepper and cloves;  cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add beef mixture, reserved 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 tsp chicken boullion.  Simmer until mixture is moist but not wet, 3-5 minutes.  Transfer mixture back into a bowl and stir in (optional) cilantro, raisins, olives and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the potato mixture:

Add the boiling water to the potato flakes to make the mashed potatoes.  Allow to cool.  Add the sifted cornstarch, turmeric and salt and combine using clean hands.

Breading Bowls:

Separately in three bowls: 1) combine the (sifted) whole egg powder and water 2) mix the flour, salt and cayenne pepper and 3) the breadcrumbs.


Begin with a generous golf ball sized ball of potato dough.  Flatten the sides, creating a pocket to hold the filling.  Add the filling and begin pinching to close, pushing the filling into the pocket and creating a potato shape as it’s sealed.  Continue with the remaining dough and filling in the same way.

Dip the faux potatoes individually into 1) the egg mixture 2) the flour 3) the egg mixture and 4) the bread crumbs.

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes and serve.


Rehydrate the freeze dried onions and freeze dried ground beef (if using).

For the bread paste, cut off the crusts of the bread and cut the bread into smaller pieces.

Make the bread paste by using 2 tsp. of the liquid from the onions to moisten the bread before processing it through a food processor (or, shown here, worst case scenerio I’d use my manual food mill).

After the ground beef is rehydrated, reserve 1/2 cup of the remaining water (set aside) and mix the beef and bread paste mixture together.

Cook onions, adding in seasonings.  Add in reserved water, beef mixture and chicken boullion and simmer 3-5 minutes until the mixture is moist but not wet.

Transfer the meat mixture to a bowl and add in the olives, raisins, cilantro and vinegar if desired.


Making the Potato Dough

Combine the boiling water and the potato flakes to make the mashed potatoes.

After cooling, mix cornstarch, turmeric and salt into the mashed potatoes using clean hands.  It’s easiest this way since the mixture is so thick.


Assembly of Papas Rellenas

Create a pocket from the potato dough and fill it with the beef mixture.  Gently close up the pocket, forming a “faux potato”.  Push the meat mixture into the pocket as you go and add more potato to it (patching the areas that need it) to close it up.

The finished “potatoes” should be smoothed out as much as possible to make sure the filling is well secured inside.

Dip each into the breading ingredients as the recipe instructs.

It’s easiest to bread all of them together one step at a time (ie:  dip all in the egg before dipping all of in the flour, etc.) rather than breading them from start to finish one by one.  You’re hands won’t get caked quite as much doing it this way.

Bake for 20 minutes at 450 until browned and crisp.

Serve immediately.  My husband and I like these with salsa while the kids go for ketchup or barbeque sauce on the side.



  • To make your own homemade bread crumbs, dry your bread well in a low temp. oven for an hour or two (200 degrees or so),  then use a manual food mill (or food processor) to grind into crumbs.

4 Responses to “Papas Rellenas: Stuffed Potatoes”

  1. Candi November 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    Yum – can’t wait to try these! This is definitely not my momma’s food storage. 😉

    • myfoodstoragecookbook November 7, 2012 at 12:36 am #

      Haha! That made me laugh! Well, I’ve got a quirky hobby but atleast it tastes good!

  2. LESLIE November 7, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I am so glad you posted this recipe! My Chilean grandmother made these all the time- and we loved them! I have never tried making them- now I will. Love your site and all the great recipes. Thank you!

    • myfoodstoragecookbook November 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks Leslie, and you’re welcome! That’s so great that you’ll be making them again. If you decide that you want to fry them since you probably remember them that way, this post does a good job of teaching how to do it successfully.

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