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Nena's Papas Rellenas Recipe

Nena's Papas Rellenas Recipe

A Cuban classic, these satisfying, crispy-coated potato balls are filled with a savory ground beef mixture known as picadillo.—Nena Linares, Los Angeles, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. Cook: 5 min./batch YIELD:10 servings


  • 2-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimientos
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Oil for deep-fat frying


  • 1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  • 2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, olives, raisins, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and paprika; heat through.
  • 3. Drain potatoes; mash with garlic powder and remaining salt and pepper. Shape 2 tablespoons potatoes into a patty; place a heaping tablespoonful of filling in the center. Shape potatoes around filling, forming a ball. Repeat.
  • 4. Place eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip potato balls in the eggs, then roll in bread crumbs. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry potato balls, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

3 papas rellenas equals 224 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 71 mg cholesterol, 615 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 13 g protein.