One of my favourites … "PASTEL DE PAPA"!

This time I had the agony of choice – either to introduce someone to you who I highly respect and was assassinated on October 9th, 1967, another riddle – or, the way I was asked a short while ago, to join the club and start posting favourite recipes. I opted for the third. Theoretically I should present to you traditional dishes from Munich .. or at least Bavarian ones but as it is a bit complex to prepare small portions of those – I chose to tell you today about one of my alltime favourites – “PASTEL DE PAPA” which is nothing else but a … “POTATO-PIE”!

Actually that dish is a stranger to our area here – it is a native Argentinian – though it NEVER survived the first 24 or even 12 hours after preparation, was eaten even for early breakfast or just before going to bed late at night by my sons with intense complaints, should one have devoured as well the rest which the other secretly tried to reserve and hide for himself, was tested by friends and family, at gatherings … and to make a long story short – there was never any crumb left and all I saw, were at the end the dirty dishes in the sink.
It doesn’t matter if a small or large portion is prepared – you just double or triple the recipe, it is ideal for all kind of left-overs – and the spices you can largely chose yourself … spicier, less hot – just the way you feel like.
I will give you MY recipe but will mention in addition the original form.
The dish consists of two parts – mashed potatoes and meat mixture.

Here you go …
~10-12 peeled potatoes (~middle size) cut in pieces
~1 cup of milk
~1/8 cup of butter – (according to your cholesterol level, less is possible)

You cook the potatoes till they’re soft (the REAL thing is MUCH more delicious than from a package!), throw the cooking water, pour the milk and the butter to the potatoes, mash them whatever way you prefere – not too smooth (it can have some structure, no problem at all) – and add salt and a bit of nutmeg. Make them tasty and not too liquid!

Second part is the meat mixture! Before you start with that, put water to boil 3-4 eggs for some 10 minutes.

For the mixture: (4-6 people, depending on appetite)

~1 kg ground beef
~2 EL vegetable oil
1 big or 2 small onions, chopped
1 garlic clove (NOT in the original recipe but I like it), crushed
1 BIG or 2-3 smaller tomatoes, chopped
1 pepper (I usually use a green one but every color is possibel) cut in small pieces
3-4 hard boiled eggs, cut in small pieces
~1/2 a cup full of pitted olives (original recipe calls for green – I prefere black)
1/3 cup of raisins – I DO NOT ADD THEM!
As spices I use salt, pepper, paprica (sweet or chilli), maybe Tabasco, – and to top it all – at the end – I add a dash of regular ketchup!

You fry the onions and garlic in the oil, add the meat and spices and make sure, the meat is DONE before you add the vegetables! Start with the tomatoes and pepper, mix well and give it to simmer for some 10 minutes, then add the olives. Turn off the heat – at the end add the hard-boiled and chopped eggs. Spice it the way you like – no fix rules! The meat-mixture should be yummy, spicy – NOT bland and NOT too liquid!
(The picture shows how it looks BEFORE it is baked – the way it gets into the pre-heated oven)

For the assembly you use a large pan, I prefere either pyrex or non-sticking but everything’s possible, pyrex I always coated with a thin layer of butter!
You have two choices now: either you sandwich the meat mixture meaning you put a level mashed potatoes on the bottom, the mixture in the middle and the second half on top –

OR: you put the entire meat-mixture as bottom-level and top it with the mashed potatoes. My way is the second but everyone can do what he/she wants!
I flatten the surface, take a knife and carve lines in the surface – in the form of rhombes. Then I dot it with some butter-flakes … and just before I put it in the oven, I dust it all with a bit sweet paprika for color!

It is baked for some 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius or roughly 390 degree Fahrenheit!

It is done when the rhombes formed stiff peakes! Take it out, let it sit for some ten minutes … and E-N-J-O-Y!

As beverage a cool beer comes handy, a glass of red wine, any kind of juice – or whatever you feel like!

Insider-tip: it tastes at least AS good if re-heated … but you won’t have many chances to do so … so it’s just for the records!


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