Three for lunch and this is all that’s left of my crazy Peruvian Potato Casserole…really delicious. 2012 may be the year of the Dragon but it’s also the year of the Potato. This year is a double whammy for Peruvian food because Peruvian cuisine is not only all about the potato but its also on the list of culinary trends predicted for this year. This dish is a hot version of a Peruvian causa which is filled layers of seasoned mashed potato. This hot version is topped with a very simple cheese souffle, more like a meringue than a souffle. Its cooking 101 here so don’t be intimidated with those French terms: souffle and meringue…they’re no big deal.
This dish is real comfort food for the winter months and easy to make for a crowd. I’ve used a pork picadillo and cheddar cheese for my filling but spinach and chicken with feta would be awesome and any sauteed veggie medley would work as a vegetarian alternative. There’s no butter, sour cream or bacon to raise the calories of the potato so it’s nearly quilt free eating. Give this a try next time you’re hungry for mashed potatoes.
- 2 lb. of russet potatoes, peeled and boiled until fork tender
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 Anaheim pepper or green Bell pepper chopped
- 1 red Bell pepper chopped
- 3 large ripe tomatoes chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. ground pork (beef, turkey, chicken or lamb may be used)
- 1/2 cup Sofrito (substitute with a packet of Taco Seasoning and 1 cup water)
- 1/2 lb. cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Over medium high heat saute the ground pork until fat is rendered, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
- Add all the vegetables and garlic and cook until all are wilted and done, about 15 minutes.
- Add the Sofrito or Taco Seasoning packet and stir. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
- Set aside to cool.
- Drain potatoes and return to pan to keep warm and dry out a bit. Mash potatoes with a 1/2 tsp salt. Don’t over mash, you want a little texture.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter a 3-4 quart casserole dish.
- Line bottom with 1/3 of the mashed potatoes and smooth the top with back of a spoon. Spoon half the meat sauce over the potatoes and top with 1/3 of the cheddar cheese.
- Repeat layers. Spoon the remaining 1/3 of the potatoes over the cheese.
- Sift 1 Tbsp of flour over whipped egg whites, add the remaining 1/3 of the cheddar cheese and fold into egg whites gently. Spoon over top of the final potato layer.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let set for 15 minutes before serving.