Friday, May 8, 2015

Savoury Empanadas

I've cut out onions from my diet for years and have benefited. But it means there are a lot of foods I have to avoid or suffer the consequences. My friend makes a wonderfully delicious empanada, but I was suffering more and more each time I ate them. So I decided to try my own hand at them - but onion free. I made them too spicy for XT to eat, but I think it is a great starting point. They were lots of fun to make, so I look forward to perfecting the filling. I also bought the olives ahead of time and forgot I was going to slice them for this recipe - I had used them all to make an olive pesto. So I just spread the pesto on the empanadas instead. Still worked out!
Dec 2015: Made a double batch of dough and separated into balls and then rolled into circles (instead of rolling and cutting out circles). Worked out faster. Put them in fridge overnight and then filled the next day. 

Dough
  • 3 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c butter (one stick), chilled or frozen
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 c warm milk
Beef Filling
  • 1 lb beef
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 heaping t minced garlic
  • 2 T hot spanish paprika (reduce for less spicy)
  • 1 T hot mexican chili (or less)
  • 1/2 T cumin
  • 1 t oregano
  • 3 eggs
  • olives or olive pesto
  • salt + pepper (to taste)
Assembly
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. Coarsely grate in the butter (or cut into slices). Stir.
  3. Add the egg yolk and milk in small amounts. Mix until clumpy and combined.
  4. Make 2 balls. Flatten slightly and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Hard boil the eggs (Place in pot, cover with cold water, bring to boil, cover and turn off heat - leave to sit for 12 minutes. Remove from pot and run under cold water to stop cooking.)
  6. Mix the beef with the paprika, chili and cumin. Set aside.
  7. Saute the garlic in the butter.
  8. Add the beef mixture, until cooked through.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in oregano. Let cool.
  10. Peel and slice the eggs. Slice the olives (if using whole).
  11. UPDATED: Cut each dough ball into 5 pieces (or more for smaller empanadas). Roll each piece into a ball, and then into a circle. [This way is much faster and cleaner]
    ORIGINAL: Roll one dough ball very thin. Cut out circular shapes (use 4" for small, 5-6" for large).
  12. Optional: Dough circles may be refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.
  13. Fill each circle with a spoonful of meat, slice of egg and slices/spread of olive.
  14. Fold in half, sealing edges with egg white. Optional: Press down with decorative fork imprints.
  15. Brush with egg yolk (this will give a nice golden brown color during baking).
  16. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  17. Bake at 400F for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  18. Cool on rack. Eat fresh or chill for later.

Spinach Cheese Filling
6/2/15 Used the dough recipe above but made a vegetarian filling. Baked for 35 min, plus another 5 for the bigger ones. XP enjoyed one warm as snack (I had 2). Delicious!
Feb 2016 Used fresh spinach and added ham.
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach (10 oz)
  • 2-3 t minced garlic
  • olive oil/safflower oil/butter
  • 1 c ricotta
  • salt + pepper
  • nutmeg
  • thyme
  1. Defrost spinach in pan over low heat. Press liquid out to make as dry as possible.
  2. Push spinach to the side and heat oil in pan. Add garlic and saute.
  3. Stir garlic with spinach until thoroughly combined.
  4. Stir in ricotta. 
  5. Season with salt+pepper, a dash of nutmeg and a sprinkling of thyme, to taste.

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