E is for Empanada

E is for Empanada

Looking for something to spice up your daily lunch routine? Look no further than these empanadas! These handheld stuffed pastries can be savory or sweet and do not fret I have provided recipes for both types of fillings 🙂 Some empanadas are fried, but these are baked to provide a healthier alternative. While the recipe may seem intimidating with its many steps, these are well worth the effort and can be served on a variety of occasions. Pop a few in your lunch bag, serve them as an appetizer, party snack, or after dinner treat with coffee. Enjoy!

Recipe (Yield 10 – 12 empanadas)

Dough (http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/02/06/how-to-make-empanada-dough/)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Chilled 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons water
  1. Add the flour and salt to a food processor fitted with a dough blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Add the sliced butter, egg and water to the food processor and pulse until a dough starts to form.
  3. Form the dough into a ball on a floured work surface and flatten into a 5-inch disc.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for at least thirty minutes.

Savory Filling (adapted from http://www.turntablekitchen.com/recipes/argentinian-beef-empanadas-a-return-to-calm/)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup of chopped, canned tomatoes with their juices
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons diced canned green chile
  • 1/2 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and cook for about three minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the pepper and continue cooking for four minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, minced garlic, and green chile and let the mixture cook for about three minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the beef, making sure to break it up into smaller pieces with your wooden spoon.
  6. Stir in the paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper and cook until the beef has browned, 5-6 minutes.
  7. Remove the beef filling from the heat and allow to cool slightly before assembling the empanadas.

Sweet Filling

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium apple (gala or pink lady), peeled and diced into ¼-inch thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the diced apples and cook for four minutes until they are soft.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Continue cooking for 2 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Remove the filling from the heat and cool before handling.

Assembling the Empanadas

  • 1 egg, gently beaten with a fork (egg wash)
  1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a thin sheet.
  2. Cut out round shapes for the empanadas (I used a round Tupperware, you can also use a large round cookie cutter, bowl, or small plate).
  3. Re-roll the dough scraps and continue cutting empanada discs until all of the dough has been used.
  4. To assemble the empanadas, place a tablespoon or two (depending on the size of your disc) of either filling on one half of the dough disc. Make sure to not over-stuff with filling as it will be difficult to seal.
  5. To seal, fold the second half of the dough over the filling and press firmly with your fingers to seal the edges. After sealing, fold the dough-edge inward by 1/8 inch to create a more decorative seal.
  6. After all of the empanadas have been formed, refrigerate for 30 minutes to help the sealing process.
  7. When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 F.
  8. Remove the formed empanadas from the refrigerator and brush them with the egg wash. For those with sweet filling, I also sprinkled cane sugar on top.
  9. Bake the empanadas for 20-24 minutes until they are golden brown.

What’s your favorite empanada filling? Are you team savory or team sweet? Let me know!

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