I adore empanadas but I find making dough is a pain in the ass so I try to avoid anything that requires the use of a rolling pin. Even though I find great pleasure in cooking and am happiest when I am in the kitchen, I am always looking for easier ways to make cooking a lot simpler than it has to be.
My first taste of an empanada was about 15 years ago when I was in college. Our class was a diverse group and so we decided that everyone should bring a snack from their culture to class. I brought a snack that we often had in our house as children called lupini. Needless to say, nobody in my class have ever had them before and they were a great hit. You can read more about lupini here – Lupini
As you can imagine, one of my classmates brought some Empanadas and I could not get enough of them. I remember how I loved these bundles of melted cheese and meat, wondering why have I not had these before. The only food that came close was those pizza pockets we had as kids. You know the ones where you always burned your mouth because of the scorching hot pizza sauce? Empanadas were different and I was sold and never looked at a pizza pockets again.
Sadly enough I never attempted to make empanadas until now. I think I was always afraid to make the dough because whenever I tried making pizza dough it always turned out to be a disaster. Therefore, I never made an attempt until now. I have used pastry dough so often and I love the flaky crispy and chewy texture of it, why the fuck not?
So I took a dive into making them and they turned out even better than I imagined, now I will never have to wait this long for empanadas again.
Empanadas can be made with anything stuffed into them, they could also be made with Tempeh instead of ground beef, or simply stuffed with veggies.
This is how I made mine:
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 packages of pastry dough
- 1 egg
- Splash of water
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
First you will want to make sure that your pastry dough is thawed
Crank up the oven to 425 degrees
In a medium frying pan throw in the olive oil, diced onion and minced garlic.
Add salt and pepper to taste
Sauteé until translucent and then toss in the frozen peas and stir occasionally until they are warmed up.
Remove the onion mixture into a bowl and in the same frying pan, brown the ground beef.
Once the beef is browned add the tomato sauce and return the onion mixture to the pan
Let the sauce simmer until it evaporates and you are left with a wet but not liquidy mixture.
Allow the mixture to cool.
Next on a floured surface, roll out your pastry dough to about a 1/4 of an inch
Using a 3″ cylinder pastry cutter, cut out the circles.
Using about a tablespoon of the meat mixture, place on top of the circle and then add a pinch of the shredded cheese.
Dip your finger into a luke warm glass of water and smear it on the outer rim of the dough in order for it to stick once you fold over the edges to form a pocket.
Once the dough is folded over, use a fork to crimp the edges to secure. This will help the pockets from breaking open while baking them. However, if you are like me, you try to stuff as much goodness into them where they do tend to burst a little while baking 🙂
Place the pockets on a lined cookie sheet
Mix one egg with a splash of water and brush the tops of each empanada with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top
Bake in the over for about 20 minutes or follow the directions on the pastry dough package as it can vary.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.
Although you won’t get the eruption of tomato sauce squirting out, they are still very hot so allow it to cool a little.
It makes for a more pleasant first bite.
Trust me, you will want to make these 😉
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