Spicy Potato Terrine (Causa Rellena)

Serves     10-12


Causa is a popular dish cherished all over the country of Peru. It’s a fun and creative dish that is easy to make. Chicken salad and tuna salad are the usual suspects in the filling, but home cooks and restaurant cooks are branching out and using whatever suits their fancy. I used a shrimp filling in my version. You can serve it humbly at home or dress it up and bring it to a party with all the fancy toppings.

Causa can be formed many ways. You can do it jelly-roll style, or in a large round as I have done for this presentation. If you want to make individual rounds that would be an elegant way to present this. And for a more informal appetizer you could make individual bite-size ones. Just take a small ball of potato into the palm of your hand, press your thumb into the middle and push in a bit of filling and press closed. Garnish as desired.

For the potatoes

2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup lime juice (about 3)
1 tsp. aji amarillo powder

For the fillings, choice of:

Tuna salad
Chicken salad
Shrimp salad
Tomato and avocado

For the toppings

Sliced hardboiled egg
Sliced avocado
Halved cherry tomatoes
Black olives
Bell pepper


Boil the potatoes until pierced easily with a knife. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins and mash smoothly or put through a potato ricer.

Stir the chile powder into the lime juice so that there are no lumps and add to the potatoes along with the olive oil. Add salt to taste, you’ll probably need at least one teaspoon.

Line two 9” pans with plastic wrap and let the extra hang over the edge of the pans.

Divide the potato mixture between the two prepared pans and press to flatten and smooth out. Bring the edges of the plastic wrap over the potato cake and refrigerate until chilled.

To assemble

Remove one potato cake from the pan by using the plastic wrap sling, flip and place on a serving platter. Spread with the filling of your choice. Top with the second potato cake.

Now comes the fun part. Decorate your causa rellena by using any of the suggested toppings from the list, or use your imagination and use whatever you have on hand. Serve chilled.

Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy


Notes and Instructions