Basic Beef Empanadas
When I was a child I used to hate going to the grocery store with my Mom. “Why do you have to get a cart, are we getting that much?”, I would whine. I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, which of course made me want to touch everything. In my bratty teen years my Mom would visit this Guatemalan bakery which had pumpkin empanadas and I never wanted to go inside. I preferred staying in the car alone, imaging what it would be like to be able to drive while listening to Britney. But, I did always want some of the empanada the moment she got back to the car. Besides those car rides, I don’t think I ever had enjoyed empanadas until recently.
As an adult I am able to make savory beef filled empanadas anytime I want. And if I want to eat them as an appetizer before shrimp with orange and tequila, then that’s just fine.
yield: 10 six inch servings
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup water
Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl until evenly blended; make a well in the center of the mixture. Whisk the egg yolk and water together in a small bowl; pour into the well and mix to form a stiff dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Divide into eight equal portions. Roll into six inch circles, using your hands to lightly stretch the dough if necessary. Place two tablespoons of filling on one side of the dough. Lightly brush or use your finger to dab water along the inside edge of the empanada that will be folded together. Fold dough over into a half moon shape and seal using a fork along the border on both sides.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees. Fry pies about 5 minutes, turning once to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, serve hot.
yield: filling for 10 empanadas
3 tbs onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a jalapeño, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground beef
3 tbs water
salt, pepper and cumin to taste
shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Add olive oil to a pan with medium high heat, add onion, jalapeño and garlic. Saute until aromatic and tender, around four minutes. Add ground beef, three tbs of water and cook until beef is fully browned and no longer pink. Use a potato masher to help spread out the beef in your pan. Add salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Let cool before using on empanada dough. Top with shredded cheese when filling the empanada, if you like.
Italian Caprese – add slides of tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese
Mushroom and Goat Cheese – two tbs sautéed mushrooms topped with goat cheese
Sweet Potato and Black Bean – cooked sweet potato chunks, black beans
These empanadas are basic but delicious. Though empanadas do not play a major role in Tex Mex cuisine, specifically in Dallas, the flavors of a beef and cheese empanada is still familiar and comforting. You can easily make a meal out of empanadas and get creative with the fillings and sauces. I froze a few, which I will be thankful for one night when I think I have nothing to eat then find these in the depths of my freezer.