Saturday, May 19, 2012


What was the last thing I brought to the Tidewater for my co-workers to try out? The Pork Banh Mi? Well, whenever that was, Adrienne mentioned something about empanadas, so I thought that I'd find a recipe and give it a whirl. The recipe I found was from the Time Life Books "Foods of the World" series, "Latin American Cooking" and I thought it would make a pretty authentic tasting empanada.

Empanadas de Horno

The Filling

  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ pound boneless sirloin steak, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raisins, soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes and drained thoroughly
  • 1 teaspoon dried hontaka chili, seeded and crumbled, or 2 small pequin chilies, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
The Pastry
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ pound plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, each cut into 8 wedges lengthwise
  • 6 pitted green olives, quartered
  • First prepare the filling in the following fashion: In an 8- to 10- inch skillet, combine the onions, olive oil and ½ cup water, and boil over high heat until water is completely evaporated. Add the meat and cook, stirring constantly, until it is browned on all sides. Stir in the raisins, chili, paprika, cumin, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Set the filling aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°. To make the dough, combine the flour, salt and butter in a large bowl. Use your fingers to rub the flour and butter together until they blend and look like coarse meal. Pour the water over the mixture all at once and gather the dough into a compact ball.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, making a rough circle about 1/8 inch thick. As you roll, lift up the dough from time to time and sprinkle a light dusting of flour under it to prevent the dough from sticking. With a cookie cutter 5 inches in diameter or an empty can of similar size, cut out 5-inch circles. (Or using a plate or saucer 5 inches in diameter as a pattern, cut out the circles with a knife or pastry wheel.) Gather the scraps of dough together into a ball and roll out again. Cut out similar 5-inch circles.
  • Place about 1½ tablespoons of the meat filling in the center of each circle, leaving at least ½ inch of dough exposed around it. Top the filling with 1 piece of egg and 2 pieces of olive, and moisten the esposed dough with a finger dipped in water. Fold the empanada in half to form a crescent, and press the edges firmly together. Arrange the finished empanadas on an ungreased baking sheet. If they must wait, cover them with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate them.
  • Bake the empanadas on the baking sheet in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. With a spatula, transfer them to a heated platter and serve at once.
  • NOTE: If you prefer, empanadas can be made in a smaller size suitable for cocktail accompaniments. Cut the dough into 3-inch rounds, and allow about 1 teaspoon of filling for each empanada.
Well, I definitely baked them for too long, waiting for the empanadas to brown as much as I imagine "lightly browned" to look, because they were a tad dry. Not my most successful attempt at something new, but the flavor was good.

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