Monday, March 14, 2011

Daring cooks challenge - Papas and ceviche

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

I was very excited to do this challenge, I know nothing about Peruvian cooking, so of course I had to do some research, and this is what I found. Potatoes are big in Peru this is where they came from, thank you Peru I am for ever grateful as they are really my favourite food.  Corn, quinoa and fish are also popular so this challenge had both potatoes and fish and added a salad with corn and quinoa.

The finished Papas rellenos
First a confession many potatoes lost their lives in the making of this dish.  The first batch of mashed potatoes were just too wet and we all decided it would be a train wreck if we tried to use them.  So as someone quoted "when life gives you soggy potatoes make potato scones"  so I did.  So after a traditional Scottish potato-scones for an appetizer we got right back on that horse after sending my very hungry and obliging son out for some more potatoes.

For the dough

  • 4 or 5 large russet potatoes
  • 2 eggs beaten

For the filling

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chili finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1lb of lean ground beef
  • 6 black olives pitted and chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs chopped or 8 hard boiled quails eggs

For the final preparation:

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
  • Oil for frying 
I chose to use quails eggs as I saw this idea on and after all copying is the sincerest form of flattery.  Also I had never cooked with quails eggs before.

Adorable little quails eggs (thank you Connie for peeling)
Boil the potatoes BIG NOTE make sure they are drained well and dry before mashing.  I put them through my potato ricer as this makes lighter mash with no lumps.  When cold add the egg and and combine.

While the potatoes are cooking make the filling

Saute the onion,chili and garlic in the olive oil then add the spices.

After about a minute add the ground beef.  Stir frequently until the the meat is cooked through and add the chopped olives.

A close up of the meat and olives
If you were using hens eggs this is when you would add the chopped egg.

Place a fist size lump of the mashed potato in the palm of your hand create a slight dip in the centre then spoon about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture into the dip.

Place the quails egg in the middle.

Now smoosh (yes that is a technical cooking term) the potato around the meat and egg filling until it is fully enclosed.

Dip in flour, then egg then breadcrumbs.

Papas ready to deep fry
Heat the oil in a large pot or if you have one a deep fat fryer (one more daring cooks challenge with deep frying and I think I will have to get me one)

These really only need to cook for a couple of minutes until they are crispy and golden as everything is already cooked. After frying them I placed them on paper towel in the oven to keep warm.

We served these with a relish of very thinly sliced red onion that had been soaking in white wine vinegar for a couple of hours.

They were delicious and really not too hard or time consuming to make as long as you only make one batch of potato coating.

The second part of the challenge was ceviche.  This is basically raw fish that has been "cooked" in lemon or lime juice.  Traditionally in Peru apparently it is not marinated for very long so is in fact still very raw looking.  We "cooked it a little longer so that the fish was quite opaque.

I bought cod from my local fish shop in Newport Village his fish is alway oceanwise and fresh.

I sliced it thinly put into a glass dish while Connie put together the marinade.

Juice of 4 limes and one lemon
1/4 cup of cilantro
1/4 red onion finely chopped
1 Serrano chili finely chopped

Marinating liquid mixed together
Add the marinade to the fish

Leave to marinate in the fridge for from 1/2 hour to 24 hours.

To round out this meal we had quinoa and bean salad, a mexican inspired salad with avacado, cucumber and tomatoes.  To finish a friend made a wonderful rice pudding that she had found when researching Peruvian food.

Everything tasted wonderful and once again Daring cook challenged me to cook two things I probably wouldn't have and I was glad I did.

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