If these don’t look like any empanadas you’ve ever had before, don’t be surprised. Every region of Mexico, Central and South America has a variety of empanada to call their own, much of which depends on who they were an outpost for during the last few centuries. For more details on these variations, I suggest this extensive list.
The empanadas I prefer are more traditional in Mexico and Venezuela because they are made with a corn and flour dough. Once you get beyond the dough, the possibilities here are truly limitless. They can be filled with just about anything edible and cooking can be done in the oven or in a deep fryer. For this demonstration I will be filing mine with a spicy chorizo and potato mixture sure to awaken even the sleepiest tastebuds.
1 C Masa Harina
1 1/3 C AP Flour
1 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 C melted butter or lard
The key to this is the Masa Harina, a corn flour often used in Mexican cooking:
1. Mix together the Masa Harina, flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
2. Pour in the melted butter or lard, mixing constantly until the dough has come together. This will need to sit for a while so the starch can absorb all of the moisture. Stick it in the fridge while you make your filling.
Filling Your Empanadas
Like I said earlier, you can put just about anything into an empanada. I prefer savory fillings like chorizo, beef and chicken, but they also taste incredible with sweet fillings like mashed plantains, custards or even chocolate! For this batch I used a simple mixture of chorizo, potatoes and dried chilies.
Assembling Your Empanadas
You’ll read many recipes that say your empanada dough should be very cold when you work with it, but I don’t see the purpose in that. First the fat was already melted when mixed in so you’re not preserving any flakiness. Secondly, this dough is incredibly difficult to work with when cold. So don’t do it. I’ve done it both ways and you can’t tell the difference. Let your dough come to room temperature before working with it.
1. Roll out the dough – This is a pretty course dough, so you want it very thin otherwise it tends to be gritty from the masa harina. (Yes, I know that’s the “fish” cutting board, but I wash them so what’s the big deal?)
2. Cut your circle – The size of your empanada is up to you. You can make small ones to serve as appetizers or really large ones that could constitute an entire meal. (I.e. homemade Hot Pockets that don’t taste like crapola!)
Preferring the smaller size, I use whatever I can find around my kitchen. In this case it happens to be my 2002 Cleveland Indians Danys Baez Souvenir cup. It is actually the perfect size.
Just press down whatever you are using to cut the dough with and turn slightly to make a nice clean cut.
3. Fill – Place your filling in the middle of your circle, but be careful not to use too much, as you must leave room to seal the edge. This actually a lot easier to do if you are holding the shell in your hand.
4. Seal the deal – For those of you that remember our Pierogi post, this might look very familiar. Pick up the soon to be empanada and firmly squeeze around the edge sealing things tight. You must make sure there is no edge left unsealed or you’ll have premature filling ejaculation during cooking. That’s bad.
5. Cooking – One of the great things about empanadas is that you can cook them a number of different ways. The two most common ways are deep frying and baking, luckily the recipe you’ve just made will work great with both methods.
For the ultimate treat, deep fry empanadas at 350° for 8 minutes or until the outside is golden brown.
Baking is easy too. Line them up on a foil-lined baking sheet while you preheat the oven to 375°. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the outside of the empanadas starts to crisp up and just begin to turn brown.
6. Storage – If you do drugs, and you’d have to be on a lot of drugs not to want to eat these empanadas right away, they store forever. Pack ‘em up in your zip-top freezer bag of choice to store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let me tell you, these are the best find ever on one of those nights where you can’t find anything for dinner. Pulling out a bag of these puppies is like finding the oasis in the desert.
Tagged with: empinada • empinada dough • epanada dough. hot to make empanadas
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