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Papa Rellenas

These stuffed Potato croquettes were new to me before I lived in New York, and fell in love with all things Cuban. There was an amazing little Cuban Cafe in Hoboken, NJ - La Isla - and I would stop on my way home to get one of these - or an empanada on any given day.

Now I have to make my own, but I am ok with that because they are quite easy to make - the only challenge is to make enough so that you can save some for later! These were actually one of the first dishes I cooked on MasterChef - in the Something stuffed challenge - I remember the look on Matt Preston's face when I told him that was what I was making - he seemed as excited as I was!

I have used my Sucia spice mix to flavour the beef filling - not at all spicy - but has got the flavour that reminds me of Cuba, and that walk home from the train station in New Jersey.


  • 300g Premium Beef Mince

  • 6 Large Potato's

  • 1 Sprig of Thyme

  • 4 pitted large green olives ( diced finely)

  • 1/2 Large carrot - peeled and diced finely

  • 1/2 small brown onion - diced finely

  • 3 large cloves of garlic ( minced )

  • 2 Cups of Tomato Passata

  • 30g MammaJos Sucia spice mix

  • 1 Bay Leaf

  • 1 TBSP Olive oil

For the crumbing and frying - you will need the following:

  • 2 eggs - whisked in a bowl

  • 1 Cup seasoned flour

  • 2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs

  • 1L Good quality frying oil, and a deep fryer


  • In a large Saucepan, bring salted water to the boil, and add potatoes - skin on and pierced with a skewer, and let simmer for 30-45 mins or until tender with a skewer.

  • When Potatoes are cooked through, drain and set aside to cool down completely.

  • Meanwhile, add the Tablespoon of olive oil to a large frypan, and bring to a simmer.

  • Add in onion, garlic, Thyme and Bay leaf and sauté until translucent - but not browned.

  • Add in the mince meat, and combine with the garlic and onion, and stir until lightly browned - 2-5 mins depending on the heat level. When this is combined, add in the spice mix, and mix to combine, and cook until browned - another couple of minutes.

  • When the mix is almost cooked through - add in the olives and carrot, then lastly the tomato passata. Reduce heat to a simmer, and reduce the mix for about 10 minutes to develop flavours. Remove mix from heat and set aside to cool

  • Peel the cooled potatoes, and using a Potato Ricer - pass through to give you a fine and smooth mash. Add the butter into the ricer, and rice that so it is the same consistency as the potato. Mix together and check seasoning - add salt if required

Prepare your crumbing station, by setting out the Flour, then Egg, then crumbs and a plate to put the balls on once they are rolled.

Place a small handfull of potato mix in your palm, then create an indentation in the middle - this is where the beef mix will go, and then you close in the potato around it to enclose it fully. Once all have been filled - you are ready to crumb them and almost ready to fry them!

Preheat your deep fryer to 180C

In production line fashion, roll the potato balls first in seasoned flour, then egg, and lastly the panko crumbs. When finished - place on a tray with baking paper and into the freezer to firm up. I find that if the croquettes are slightly frozen, they tend to fry better - keeping their shape.

When you are ready to fry, gently place a few at a time into the frying basket and fry until golden. Remove onto paper towel to drain any excess oil.

Serve with a hot sauce - Tobasco, or Cholula Salsa picante and enjoy!


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