Llapingachos are seasoned potato patties seasoned filled with cheese. It has been over 15 years since I have eaten llapingacho – as a matter of fact today is the first time I have ever made it. I am very glad I did, especially because my husband loved them so much, he could not stop eating them.
Llapingacho, as my husband thoughtfully put it, is the Ecuadorean version of Bangers and Mash. When I was little, we used to each llapingacho at least once a week, given it is quite inexpensive to prepare. My little sister and I ended up getting bored with it. “No mas llapingacho!”, we protested. After today, however, I will make it more often.
Llapingacho is a great side dish, and it is traditionally served with a peanut sauce over it, and accompanied with a fried egg, Ecuadorean sausage (there were times we would use regular beef franks), avocado, and encurtido, which is a pickled onion and tomato salad. Tonight, I decided to serve it with the ají I had just made, and it was utterly delicious.
To make the potato patties, use russet potatoes. These have a higher starch content and will help holding the cheese and the patties together. After you are done forming the patties, refrigerate them for an hour. I refrigerated them for only 30 minutes and they slightly crumbled when I browned them in a flat frying pan. However, if you still have the crumbling problem don’t worry; it happens. Just reshape the patties – don’t burn your hands – and serve.
Makes 10-12 patties
2 lbs russet potatoes
1/4 lb soft cheese (queso blanco or queso Oaxaca)
1/4 white onion, minced
Annato-infused oil, annato powder or paprika for coloring
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the potatoes in a large pot with water until they are soft. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer to achieve a smooth texture. If you don’t have a potato ricer, just peel and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and set aside.
In a small frying pan, sautee the onions in the annato-infused oil. If you don’t have this, sautee the onions in regular oil and add a teaspoon of paprika for color. Cook onions until they are soft. Incorporate the onions into the potatoes, mix and let the mixture completely cool off.
Once cooled, grab enough mixture to form a ball. Dent the ball in the middle and put some crumbled cheese. Close the patty making sure the cheese stays inside. Refrigerate the patties for an hour.
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, no sugar (I use Crazy Richard’s Natural Peanut Butter)
3 tbsp white onion, minced
water to thin out the peanut butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small frying pan, heat up oil in medium heat and sautee the onions. Dilute the peanut butter, just enough to achieve a cream-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Add this to the pan and cook until it starts thickening. Remove from heat and serve over the llapingachos.