Llapingachos (Ecuadorian potato-cheese patties)

Llapingachos

(Ecuadorian potato-cheese patties)

Yield: 4-6 servings
INGREDIENTS
PREP
AMOUNT
Potatoes
peeled
2 lb
Cheese, white
shredded
1 cup
Scallions
chopped fine
6 each
Salt
to taste
Achiote powder (see notes)
2 tsp
Oil
1/4 cup
Salsa de Maní (Peanut Sauce)
Onion
thinly sliced
1/4 cup
Milk
1 1/2 cup
Peanut butter, natural, unsweetened
1/3 cup
Salt
to taste

METHOD

Basic Steps:  Boil → Mash → Chill → Form → Sauté → Garnish
  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with salted water and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes until done and knife pierces center evenly. Drain potatoes and let steam dry one or two minutes.
  2. Mash potatoes or put through a ricer till smooth. Season with salt to taste. Form into balls of about 1/3 cup and chill in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, start your maní sauce:  Simmer milk with the onion in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes.  Do not boil.  Remove the onion and stir in the peanut butter and salt to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer till thickened. Should be thick like heavy cream.  Add a little more milk or peanut butter as needed.  Set aside.
  4. Remove potatoes from the refrigerator. Mix the cheese and scallions together and stuff each ball with about 1 tablespoon of the mixture. Flatten the balls with your hands to form patties.
  5. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the patties a few at a time till browned on each side. Remove to a warm oven till all patties have been sautéed. Serve with salsa de maní.

VARIATIONS

  • Use finely minced white onion instead of scallions.
  • Mix the cheese and scallions in with the potatoes instead of stuffing them.
  • Ecuadorans typically use a young white cheese called queso blanco, but you can use Monterey jack or mozzarella.
  • Add a little cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce to the to the peanut sauce if you'd like some heat.  Or add a little ground cumin for extra flavor.

NOTES

  • Llapingachos (yah-peen-GAH-chos) are a popular food in Ecuador. They are often served with fried eggs and a simple salad of lettuce, tomato and sometimes avocado. Sometimes sausages and a side of rice are added.
  • The achiote gives the patties an orange color.  If you don't have achiote, add a teaspoon or two of paprika for color.  Or just leave it out altogether.

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