2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered 8 cups water 1 1/2 tablespoon salt 4 tablespoons butter 1 egg, slightly beaten 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon cornstarch cornstarch (to coat balls) lard or vegetable oil (for deep frying) ***Basic Meat Filling*** 1/4 ounce salt pork 1/2 ounce lean cured ham (washed and diced) 1 teaspoon lard or vegetable oil 1/4 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 sweet chile peppers, seeded and chopped 1/4 onion, peeled and chopped 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped 1/4 teaspoon whole dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 dash vinegar 1/4 pound lean ground beef or pork 2 olives, stuffed with pimientos 1/4 teaspoon capers 1 tablespoon tomato sauce 2 teaspoons seeded raisins (optional) 2 dry prunes, pitted and chopped (optional) 1/2 hard-cooked egg, chopped (optional) 1/2 can pimientos, chopped (optional)
Place water, potatoes and salt in a pot. Cover and boil at moderate heat for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and immediately mash or put through a potato ricer. Add butter, egg, salt and cornstarch and mix well. Cool to room temperature.
Divide mixture in 12 parts. Cover palm of hand with the cornstarch and spread over hand one part of the mixture. Spoon the center with part of the filling and bring mixture over to cover filling.
Coat lightly with cornstarch and proceed with remaining mixture until 12 balls are ready. Deep fry in fat, heated to 375 degrees F, until golden brown. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
Note: Potato balls can also be filled with shredded cheese.
For Basic Meat Filling: In a caldero or heavy kettle, brown rapidly salt pork and ham. Reduce heat to low. Add lard or vegetable oil, green pepper, chile peppers, onion and garlic and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add oregano, salt, vinegar and ground beef or pork and mix. Stir over high heat until meat loses its red color. Turn heat to low. Add olive, capers, tomato sauce and any optional ingredients of your choice. Mix, cover and cook 30 minutes for beef or 1 hour for pork.