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Prep 1 hr
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins
There is a wonderful Cuban bakery in Glendale, California called Porto's where I first tasted these. They are so delicious, and I was lucky enough to find a recipe for them in a Saveur magazine article about Cuba. You can't eat just one! NOTE: You only need 1 cup of the picadillo for the croquettes, so you will have a lot left over. The 6 servings apply only to the potato croquettes. You can serve the leftover picadillo over rice or make more of the potato mixture to make more croquettes.
For the picadillo filling
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 25 pitted green olives, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1⁄2 cup dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the potato croquettes
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, minced
- vegetable oil
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- PICADILLO FILLING: Mix together beef, garlic, peppers, scallions, olives, raisins, capers, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, tomato sauce, and sherry in a bowl. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with the back of a spoon, for 30-40 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove bay leaves.
- CROQUETTES: Put potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold salted water, and simmer over medium heat until soft, 25-30 minutes. Drain, then mash with a potato masher until smooth. Set aside to cool. Beat yolks into potatoes one at a time, add nutmeg and parsley, and season to taste with salt. Whisk whites in a bowl just until soft peaks form, then set aside.
- Take 1 cup of the picadillo mixture. Oil palms of your hands, then shape 1/4 cup of potato mixture into a ball. Make an indentation in the center of the ball, then flatten it into a 4'' concave disk about 1/2'' thick. Fill center with 1 tablespoon picadillo. Cup potato mixture up and around filling. Pinch together to seal, reshaping to form a smooth ball. Dip ball into beaten egg whites, then into bread crumbs. Repeat process with remaining potato mixture and picadillo.
- Pour oil into a deep skillet to a depth of 2'' and heat until about 350° on a candy thermometer. Fry fritters in batches until golden brown on all sides, 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- NOTE: Don't be frightened by the calorie count, since the amount is being calculated based on the whole picadillo recipe, not just the 1 cup needed for filling the croquettes.