If you are looking for an insanely delicious potato recipe look no further than the famed Colombian papas criollas. This Creole potato recipe only has a few ingredients, but will make you fall in love with the potato all over again.
Did you know that potatoes actually hail from South America? In fact, there are so many varieties of potatoes you’re sure to find some you’ve never even seen before. In Colombia, where I am currently, these little creole potatoes as they are known are wildly popular. Papas Criollas, papitas criollas, or Colombian Creole Potatoes, are extremely simple to cook, and this recipe will surely impress guests at your next dinner party.
My favorite thing about Colombian creole potatoes is just how rich and creamy they are. It is almost like popping a ball of creamy mashed potatoes in your mouth, yet this recipe calls for no cream at all! This is a popular side dish at Colombian steakhouses – but be careful not to fill up too fast since you can never have just one papa criolla.
How To Make Colombian Creolle Potatoes
The first step to this recipe is obviously buying a bag of creole potatoes. These are known as papas criollas (same name as the dish) in Spanish, although some people will call them papitas criollas. The latter is the diminutive or cute version for potato.
These can be difficult to find outside of Colombia, but your best option is to look at your local Latin market as they should have them. If you can’t find them you can substitute with European style ‘new potatoes’ or baby Yukon golds, which should cook similar enough even if the flavor and texture is a little different.
One of the signatures of papas criollas is the easily recognizable crinkly skin. To achieve this you need to cook the potatoes in oil that is just hot enough. We aren’t trying to deep fry these little things. After washing your potatoes add them to a pan and then add oil about halfway up. I recommend a basic cooking oil like sunflower, but if you want to add extra richness you can use olive oil as well.
Turn on the heat and bring the oil to a simmer. You don’t want to put it on max heat so if the oil starts to get violent just turn down the heat a bit more. What we are trying to do here is essentially slow poach the potatoes in the hot oil so the insides get rich and creamy without making the skin hard and deep fried. That being said, the skin of criollas potatoes does become papery and flaky which is so fantastic once sprinkled with a little salt.
After roughly 15 minutes remove the potatoes from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel lined plate. Shake the plate a bit to absorb most of the excess oil, then move the potatoes to a bowl. Traditional seasoning for papas criollas is just salt, but I like to add freshly cracked black pepper and some dry oregano as well. Of course, season how you like – you’re the one who’s going to be eating them!
I like to serve papas criollas with different dipping sauces depending on how I am feeling, but one of my favorite to use is just mustard-ranch (50/50 dijon/ranch). Colombian Creole Potatoes make an excellent tapas dish as well if you want to add a little inauthenticity to your next Spanish tapas night!
If you don’t feel like frying them in all that oil, you can always do roasted Creole potatoes. Just use whatever recipe is your favorite for other potatoes and these should roast the same.
Papas Criollas (Colombian Creolle Potatoes)
- 500 grams Creolle Potatoes can sub 'new potatoes' if creolle are impossible to find. Note that the taste and texture will be different
- Oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste
- Oregano optional, to taste
- After washing you potatoes add them to a walled pan so they cover the bottom, do not let them stack.
- Pour in oil enough to cover 1/2 of the potatoes
- Turn on the heat and let the oil come up to a simmer. If the oil gets too hot reduce the heat, we only want a light simmer so the potatoes cook on the inside without burning the outside skin.
- After about 15 minutes remove the potatoes and put them on a paper towel lined plate to absorb extra oil. Move to a bowl and season with the sale and pepper and oregano if you wish. Feel free to get creative with your seasonings and change it up often.
- Serve with your preferred potato dipping sauce (I enjoy mustard-ranch)
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