Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Throwback to MEF's House

Ok, so I can't claim to actually remember having empanadas at Sylvia's house growing up, but I do have very fond memories of her Mexican mama catering to two (practically anorexic) teenage girls and trying to fatten us up on yummy Mexican food straight from her own kitchen. Syl's house was my home away from home in high school and I was like one of the family there.

So, when the hubs and I were watching Sunny Anderson's "Cooking for Real" (not normally a show I enjoy) on the Food Network and Big Man of the house responded enthusiastically to her rendition of Empanadas, I knew I had to make them for him. As you know very well, any time the hubs shows an interest in trying something new, I jump at the chance to enlighten his picky-eater tastebuds.

Unfortunately, Sunny's recipe calls for store bought empanada shells. Now, its bad enough trying to find some fairly basic ingredients in this little hamlet that I call home, but empanada shells? Even Sylvia couldn't remember ever seeing such a creature in the stores, and she grew up with it! So, after a little digging online, I found a recipe for empanada dough that sounded both authentic and easy. Because, after all, empanadas are all about the dough. Bad dough...baaaad empanadas.

I finally made these for the hubs on Sunday night. The dough was very easy to roll out and it made me about seven 6-inch shells. The filling smelled amazing cooking up in the pan. All the spices combined to make a mouth watering aroma in my house.

Not that this is going to shock anyone....but the hubs wasn't a big fan. (And, naturally, the rat bastard didn't even taste them before he poured a healthy dose of Country Bob's all purpose sauce right on top of them! Grrr...) He ate them anyway, and even took some for lunch the next day. However, he made a point of telling me when he got home that I didn't need to make them again, as they were only okay to begin with, and weren't worth a darn reheated.


Did I mention I wasn't even remotely hungry that night and so I didn't actually try them myself?

Well, I'm having leftover empanadas for lunch today and I am now certain that my husband is either smoking crack or he has completely destroyed his taste buds living the life of a country boy. They taste damned fine to me. The dough is flaky and light (you can tell there is lard in it) and the filling is really flavorful. A little hot salsa on the side and I am a happy girl.

In my book, another success....that I probably won't make again, just because the main eater in the house won't eat them. Bummer.

Empanada Dough
3 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup lard or shortening
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 egg
oil or shortening for frying

Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg and mix into chicken broth. Mix the broth and egg into the flour mixture and knead until dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour a surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 4-inch circles for small empanadas, 5-inch for medium ones or 6-inch for large ones.
Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough circle for small empanadas, 2 tablespoons for medium and 3 tablespoons for large.
Fold dough over to make a filled half circle and use a fork to press the edges together. Refrigerate uncooked empanadas for 3 hours.
Fry in 350 degree oil for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Bay Ridge Empanadas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch ground cinnamon
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Sazòn seasoning
12 store-bought (6-inch) empanada wrappers
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more. Stir in the beef, cumin, curry, chili powder, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, and salt and pepper, to taste. Saute, stirring often, until the beef has browned, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and the Cheddar and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter with the Sazòn powder small pan over low heat. Stir well to combine and reserve.Working with 1 wrapper at a time, scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling into the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg, then fold the dough over to form a half moon, pressing out the air with your fingertips.Use the tines of a fork to pinch and seal the edges, creating a border about 1-inch wide. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of patties with the reserved Sazòn butter.Bake according to dough package instructions, or until puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.***Notes: Since these are two separate recipes, some of the directions may not make complete sense. Like the fact that the dough recipe calls for oil for frying. Yeah, I baked them according to the empanada recipe. And the way it says to let unbaked empanadas sit for three hours. Nah, not so much. I basically used the dough recipe for the ingredients and then followed the second recipe for the rest of the directions.


Michelle said...

These look really good.

Krista said...

LOL. Sometimes I think that my husband has no clue what tastes good AND it drives me absolutely nuts when he grabs for the salt, ranch, or hot sauce after I've perfectly seasoned a recipe. Grrr is right!

I think that these look delicious!

ARLENE said...

Men! Mine puts hot sauce on everything, even my sauce. A heathen Philistine. I recently made empanadas with leftover Thanksgiving fare using the ready made Goya discs. Your dough, however, will be my next try. It's funny that I searched for a filling that sounded good and none did until I saw yours. I'm bookmarking this.

I'm Just a Girl said...

Aw...mom would be so proud! ;) I'm trying this...soon!