Thursday, January 08, 2009

Stuffed potato cakes...

It's time to bust out those old potato mashers you have hidden in the junk drawer... you'll need it so you can make these Southwestern-Style Mashed Potato Cakes we had for dinner!

With a filling stuffed inside, these potato cakes do take some effort and time to prepare, but we thought it was worth it! The cakes are made from potatoes that we boiled until they were just tender, cooled down to room temperature and smashed with a sprinkling of flour, a clove of garlic and a couple pinches of salt. A little soft at this point, you'll want to stash this in the refrigerator for a little while to firm the potatoes up.

The firmer smashed potatoes are now divide into 12 portions, with each being squished to a round patty - much like a hamburger. To half of the rounds, we mounded a combination of sharp cheddar, corn kernels and just a touch of pickled jalapeño peppers on top. The patties without the topping are then set on top and the two are joined together by sealing the edges and gently reshaping the stuffed cake back into an even round. To give the cakes a crunchy exterior, the potato rounds are first dusted with seasoned flour, slid through a pool of beaten egg and then smothered in chunky panko breadcrumbs. Do you really have to use panko? I guess not, but those coarse crumbs provide an outstanding crispness that just doesn't compare to the regular fine breadcrumbs you might already have in the pantry. They used to be fairly hard to find in some areas, but not so much anymore... they just might not be in the most obvious place in the market - be sure to ask if you don't see them! While the cakes are probably soft enough that some of the panko breadcrumbs would stay on if you skipped the other steps, doing this breading process allows the crumbs to adhere so much better, especially through flipping and jostling them around during the browning process.

To brown up the exterior of the cakes and warm them through, turning those shreds of cheese inside into a hidden surprise of oozing love, they are set into a golden pool of sizzling melted butter. This shouldn't take too long - it was just a few minutes per side for us before we were anxiously shoving our forks through the crispy crust. Comforting and tasty, what I loved was the contrast in textures between the crunch of the panko coating, the warm, creamy potato insides and the unique bite from the jalapeño, cheese and corn in the filling. We had two cakes as a main dish, but you could probably stretch this to 8 individual patties if you wanted to serve this as a smaller side.


  1. YUM! One of the old restaurants here in Houston makes something called "hot tots" as a side dish. They're mashed potato, cheese and jalapeno balls that lightly fried. This is the first recipe that I've ever seen that comes even close to mimicking hot tots! I'm going to have to try these just to see how close they are. Thanks for posting them!

  2. These sounds so good! A nice different side dish to make, thanks!

  3. Terri - I've never heard of those, but I hope they are somewhat close!

    Rachel - Yeah! They didn't do too bad the next day either.

    Bunny - Thanks!

  4. Hi Joe,
    I love your recipes, and this is the first one I've ever tried that, well, didn't work. The potatoes were just too gooey, even though I refrigerated them for a long time and kept adding flour. I just couldn't make patties out of them; they were too wet. Any advice?

    All was not lost, though. I mashed up the goo with the filling, and it made for some very tasty mashed potatoes.

  5. Barnabybremen - Well, I've gone over the recipe a few times and don't see why they would end up gooey. There is no extra liquid added, so I'm not sure what gives?

    Boiling the potatoes and then letting them dry out in the pan for a minute removes a lot of the excess moisture. They should be no where near gooey even at that point. Did you happen to make any other additions?