Papa a la Huancaina is a traditional Peruvian dish of sliced potatoes covered in a spicy cheese sauce. It is very light and vegetarian, normally served as an appetizer. The sauce when mix with noodles can create a mac and cheese Peruvian style.
The dish is original from the city of Huancayo, one of the highest altitude cities in the world. This delicious dish originally was made with a Batan, a stone use to crush and beat the ingredients, but now a days, just a blender is needed.
Yield 6 people
6 white potatoes
4 Aji Amarillo peppers (fresh, frozen, canned or jarred), seeded, de-veined and soaked in cold water overnight (to reduce the heat of the pepper)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 saltine crackers, crushed
2 cups fresh white cheese, crumbled (feta or other)
1 cup fresh milk or evaporated milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hard boiled egg slices
Botija olives (found at any Latin store) or black olives
Wash the potatoes and cook in a pot until done. Once cooked, peel and let cool. Slice and set aside.
Rinse the soaked Aji Amarillo and chop roughly.
Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté onion, garlic and Aji Amarillo until soft about 2 – 3 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and while mixture is still hot, place in a blender and mix for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add the crackers, cheese and milk and keep blending to form a thick, smooth and creamy sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Divide lettuce leaves between plates, arrange the cold potatoes on the plates, pour the sauce over the potatoes and garnish with hard boiled eggs and sliced olives. The sauce can be served chilled or at room temperature.