Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Easy Empanadas!!!!

I remember eating empanadas all the time as a small child. I would go to a friend's house everyday after school and her mom always made the best empanadas. Of course at the time I had no idea what I was eating or how to make them, I just knew they were awesome!!!

Now if you are not sure what an empanada is...well here ya go: 
It is a Spanish or Latin-American turnover with a flaky crust and a spicy or sweet filling.
 Pretty simple...and most certainly delicious

Beef Empanadas 
"For a novice baker, this is the most forgiving dough to work with. The cream cheese allows this pastry some elasticity but still produces tender and flaky results."
 From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
 Now this dough may not be the healthiest so if you wanna opt for something a little less fattening go for it...but as I've said before it's all about moderation, if you eat 2 as opposed to 20 I think you'll be fine!

  1. Process the butter, cream cheese, and cream in a food processor, electric mixer, or by hand to thoroughly combine.
  2. Add the flour and salt. Process just until combined and the dough holds together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into 2 pieces. Flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If the dough is chilled overnight, take it out 15 minutes before rolling out.
  3. Rub flour all over a rolling pin. Working with one dough disk at a time, place the disk on a clean, well-floured surface. Applying some pressure with the rolling pin, roll gently from the center of the dough to the top and bottom edges. Rotate the disk and roll to the top and bottom edges again. Re-flour the work surface and rolling pin, turn the dough over, and continue to roll the dough from the center out to the edges. Turn over and roll again, rotating the disk to ensure even rolling until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter, thin but not transparent. 
*We made our dough the night before and refrigerated it. It is not time consuming but with being busy this week we decided to utilize Sunday night free time to make it!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped**
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin**
  • 3/4 cup pimiento-filled green olives, sliced**
  • 3/4 cup raisins (golden)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt**
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper**
  • Several dashes hot sauce**
  • 2 large eggs, separated
** We forgot the green pepper this week so we upped the onion and added about 3 cloves of garlic. We also just guesstimated on all the spices (a little more than suggested never hurts!). I leave out the olives as well, we are not huge olive fans. And as always my go to hot sauce is sriracha sauce.


  1. To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and then swirl in the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the beef. Cook, stirring constantly to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for another minute.
  2. Stir in the olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cook until the meat is golden brown, the liquid has evaporated, and the flavors have blended, about 4 more minutes. Cool the mixture completely in the fridge. Stir in the egg whites.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line a baking sheet.
  • To form the empanadas, work with half of a disk of dough at a time, rolling out on a floured surface. Using an overturned bowl (about 5 inches across), cut out circles about 3 or 4 at a time from each piece of dough. 
  • Gather all dough scraps together, re-roll once, and cut. Place 1/4 cup filling on one side of a dough circle. 
  • Wet the edges of the dough with water. Fold the dough over to form a half circle. Pinch the edges of the dough together. Crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat the process until all the filling is used. The empanadas can be frozen at this point.
  • Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and chill for a few minutes. Prick each pie on top twice with a fork. When ready to bake, beat the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over each empanada. 
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. The empanadas can be cooled and frozen to reheat in a microwave.
We served our empanadas with green beans. All I did was blanch them for about 3 minutes and then sauteed them for about 10 minutes  with oil, garlic, salt, pepper, pine nuts (throw in last 2-3 mins of cooking) and garnish with Parmesan cheese. 

We even had some left over for lunch today!! 


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