As you know my DH is Ecuadorian by birth (though a naturalized US citizen for many years). This dish, called Llapingachos, is a "national specialty" in Ecuador. An English translation would be Potato Cheese Patties (called tortillas in Ecuador). The patties are traditionally served with a sunnyside-up egg, sausage, shredded lettuce, avocado, and sometimes a special sauce.
When I used to cook with cheese; my children LOVED these cheese-filled potato patties (with or without the added "sides"). They even requested on more than one occasion that I make them and bring them to school for their classmates!
As this recipe was learned at my non-English speaking mother-in-law's side, I do not have exact measurements, but here is the general method. Adjust the amounts of the ingredients according to the number of patties required.
Mashed potatoes (about 1/2 cup per serving)
Shredded mild white cheese (about 1/2 ounce per serving; I used Monterey Jack or Mozzarella)
Flour (for coating patties)
Canola Oil (for frying)
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet with a generous amount of oil over medium-high heat.
Arrange a work area with the seasoned/colored mashed potatoes, shredded cheese, a small bowl of flour (for dipping the patties), the prepared skillet, and a platter covered with several layers of paper towel.
Season and color the mashed potatoes (approximately 1/2 cup per serving) with Sazon with Annatto and Coriander (by Goya).
This is often available in the international food aisle of larger supermarkets with the latin/Mexican products, or in specialty markets carrying latin products.
It is a powdered seasoning that is packaged in small foil packets inside a colorful cardboard box.
My mother-in-law couldn't cook without it! LOL
Sazon Goya is also a good product for seasoning/coloring Spanish/Mexican rice.
However, in my cookbooks, I caution that it does contain MSG, so people who are sensitive to MSG will want to avoid its use.
The potatoes should be a medium-orange color, roughly the color of orange juice!
Gather a fist-sized portion of the seasoned and colored mashed potatoes (about 1/2 cup per serving) in your left hand (correct if left-handed), then use your hands to form the potatoes into a ball shape.
Using the fingers of your right hand, press a deep depression into the center of the ball.
With the potato ball still in your left hand, use your right hand to gather about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of shredded cheese and press it lightly into the depression formed in the potatoes.
Carefully bring the top edges of the potatoes up over the cheese, completely enclosing the cheese.
Use both hands to reshape the ball into a flattened cheese-filled pattie, about 3/4-inches thick.
Coat the pattie with flour, then place it in the heated skillet.
Repeat for the number of patties required.
Fry patties on one side until nicely browned, then turn and fry until lightly browned on the other side.
Remove fried patties to the paper-towel lined platter.
While the patties fry, you can prepare any of the typical side dishes desired. (See introduction to the recipe).