This easy recipe for crowd pleasing potato puff appetizers are a delicious and useful way to use up leftovers such as mashed potatoes and small amounts of meat, vegetables, or cheese. This recipe uses leftover corned beef. Recipe variations follow for plain potato puffs using leftover mashed potatoes, as well as corn (or other vegetables), cheese, garlic, and herbs.
Corned beef and onion potato puffs
Makes about 25-30 appetizer puffs
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup finely diced corned beef
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon milk, cream, sour cream, or yogurt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 large egg
About 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and add a large pinch of salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 8-10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain the water through a sieve and return the potatoes to the saucepan over low heat. Toss the pan or gently stir the potatoes for 1 minute, or until potatoes dry out and begin to crumble.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add the diced corned beef and onion and sauté about 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash by hand using a fork or potato masher. Sprinkle with the flour, salt and nutmeg. Stir with the fork until dry ingredients are evenly blended with the potato.
- Add the milk, butter, and egg. Using a spoon, stir together the ingredients until well blended. Finally, stir in the sautéed corned beef and onion. Then beat the mixture vigorously about 20 strokes. You may cover and refrigerate the potato mixture overnight, or form into mounds and fry immediately.
- Pour 1/2 inch vegetable oil into an 8 to 10 inch skillet or sauté pan (straight sided skillet). Heat oil over medium high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until shimmering.
- Using 2 teaspoons, shape potato mixture into 1-inch mounds and push into the hot oil; do not crowd the pan, work in batches of 8 to 10 potato puffs. Fry the potato mounds on one side for 3 minutes. Use a clean spoon to turn the mounds over and fry on the other side for 3 minutes; if the puffs are browning unevenly, turn again during the last minute of frying.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the puffs to a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
Transfer the potato puffs to a platter and serve warm or at room temperature. Alternatively, you may cool the puffs completely, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage. To reheat cold or frozen puffs, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warm throughout.
Variations: Using leftover mashed potatoes: use 1 ½ to 2 cups mashed potatoes, 1/4 cup flour and 1 egg. If the mashed potatoes have already been seasoned, omit the salt, nutmeg, milk, and butter. Plain Potato Puffs: omit the corned beef and onion, form mounds, and fry as directed. Corn Potato Puffs: instead of (or in addition to) the corned beef and onion, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup frozen or canned, drained corn kernels; any other cooked vegetable may be substitutes such as chopped broccoli. Cheese Potato Puffs: to any of the preceding recipes, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons grated or crumbled cheese such as Blue, Feta, or Parmesan. Garlic-Herb Potato Puffs: to any of the preceding recipes, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs such as chives, dill, parsley, or rosemary and 1 to 2 minced garlic cloves.