One of my favorite things to get at my local Cuban restaurant growing up were Papas Rellenas, or stuffed potato balls. While my recipe probably isn’t the most authentic, it is still delicious. This is a great way to use up some leftover mashed potatoes or ground meat. I make these spicy beef croquette bombs with a variety of ingredients, but most can be easily substituted to suit your kitchen.
The hardest part about making these is of course forming the balls. For this I suggest chilling the mashed potatoes so they are more firm. I tend to make these when I have leftover mashed potatoes so that works out well.
What Are Croquettes?
Croquettes are essentially a filling wrapped in something breaded and then deep fried. The filling can be pretty much anything that you can imaging from seafood to ground meats to fruit or nuts. They can be whole meals, appetizers, or desserts. I find these spicy beef croquette bombs to be large enough to be an actual meal, or a shared appetizer.
You will often see croquettes as a tapa in Spain; The most famous of which will be a jamon in bechamel sauce.
How To Make These Spicy Beef Croquette Bombs
Let’s start with the filling first. I am assuming you will be using leftover mashed potatoes, but if not then I suggest boiling 400 grams of potatoes, mashing them with a bit of salt and pepper, and then sticking them in the fridge. For the filling I use 250 grams of ground beef, one shallot, one yellow onion, a handful of green onions, and two chili peppers. You can choose whichever peppers you want based on your desired spice preference.
Also I add a few cloves of minced garlic. Then just a sprinkling of salt and start mixing everything up with your hands as if you were making meatballs.
Saute the mixture in a little oil on medium heat until the meat is fully cooked. Then set aside and let cool a bit.
In your palm add some mashed potatoes and flatten them into a circle. Place the spicy beef croquette mixture in the middle leaving the edges exposed. This part can be tricky so it may take a bit of practice.
Fold up the potato using your fingers and seal the ‘croquette bomb’ shut. You can add over some more mashed potatoes if you need to so it can close completely. Then place them on a tray and put the whole tray in the fridge.
After they are done chilling it is time to make the breading. I keep it very simple with just some spiced and herbed flour and a couple beaten eggs.
Into a cup of flour I whisk in two teaspoons of paprika, one teaspoon of chili powder, a sprinkling of dry oregano, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Roll the chilled spicy beef croquette bombs first in the flour, then in the egg,and then once again in the flour.
Lastly it is time to fry. I don’t have a deep fryer so I had to use a pan and just fry one side at a time. However if you have a deep fryer (or are just smart enough to use a small pot) then you should use that so they fry more evenly. Pull them out just when they become golden and place them on a paper towel lined plate to rest.
Spicy Beef Croquette Bombs
- 400 grams Potatoes mashed
- 250 grams Ground Beef
- 1 Yellow Onion chopped
- 1 large Shallot chopped
- 1 bunch Green Onion chopped
- 2 Chili Peppers chopped, use ones that suit your spice preference
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 3 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Oil plus a whole lot more for frying
- 1 cup Flour
- 2 Eggs beaten
- 1 tbsp Oregano dried
- Place your mashed potatoes in the fridge to set a bit (if you are using leftovers then they should already be there).
- In a bowl mix together the beef, onions, chili peppers, garlic, and one tsp each of paprika, chili powder, freshly cracked black pepper, and salt. Use your hands to make a nice mixture.
- In a pan on medium heat add the oil and the spicy beef mixture. Saute until the beef is fully cooked then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Take a big scoop of potato and flatten it into a disk on your palm. Scoop in some spicy beef mixture and fold the potato up into a ball. You can use some extra potato to close it if you need to. This recipe makes four bombs. Place them on a tray and put them back into the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- In a dish whisk together the flour with the remainder of the seasonings plus the dry oregano. In a bowl next to it place the beaten eggs. Also fill a pot or pan with oil and turn the heat on max. You basically want to deep fry these balls.
- Take the croquettes from the fridge and roll them in flour, then egg, then flour again. Place into the hot oil (carefully) and fry into just golden (don't let them become golden brown in the oil unless you are shallow frying). Remove them with a spider strainer if you have it and place them on a paper towel lined plate to dry.