Empanadas

I was at a wedding this past weekend, and a friend and I couldn’t stop talking about empanadas! No joke – we had a deep 20 minute conversation about them. I wanted them so bad that it only took me 3 days after the wedding to make them. It’s no secret on this site that I like things that can be made with many different fillings/toppings. You know, like pizza, dumplings, and ravioli. I think empanadas will become a new favorite of mine, so expect to see them more on the site.

I put a chile-cinnamon rub on this brisket the night before. I had this half brisket laying around… stick around later this week to see why.

After searing it on both sides, set it aside and saute some onions and carrots for a few minutes.

When the onions and carrots are nicely browned, add garlic, followed by water, a couple cans of tomatoes, and some spices. A (slightly) more accurate recipe is listed at the bottom of the post. This got covered and thrown into a 300 degree oven for 4 hours.

In the meantime, I made a take on a green “aji” sauce. The aji is a pepper common in south america, and i came across this sauce while searching for a different south american condiment. I couldn’t find any aji chiles here, so i used a mix of Cuban, Anaheim, and Thai chiles.

The sauce couldn’t be simpler, just toss it all into a food processor.

Check out how much the beef shrank in the 4 hours of cooking!

I pulled the beef out and added some potatoes. I boiled these on the stove top for 45 minutes until they were tender.

This needs to cool before it can go into the pastry.

Speaking of pastry, the dough is pretty easy to make in a food processor. I used butter today because I saw a recipe I liked. Depending on the region, lard and/or masa could make a more traditional dough, but what I made is still very acceptable. For my first empanada attempt I wanted to use ingredients I was more familiar with.

This went into the fridge for a half hour.

Next time I am DEFINITELY using a pasta roller! It would have made this part easier.

In with the beef is some hard boiled egg and olives. Why olives you ask? In some parts of south america, the olive is an essential part of the empanada. In fact, in Brazil there is a famous quote “You are the olive in my empanada.”

Some egg yolk painted on the empanadas to encourage browning.

Yum. I made that?

I used this recipe for the dough. I needed a double batch for all the filling I made. If you use a 1lb flank instead of a 2.5 lb brisket, you will probably only need the one batch. – note: I added 2 tablespoons of sugar and swapped out one of the cups of flour for whole wheat flour.

For the meat filling, I rubbed a 2.5 lb brisket with some salt, chile powder, cinnamon, oregano, and pepper and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, sear it on both sides and remove from pan. Toss in 2 medium diced onions and 2 medium carrots diced. Cook 10 minutes. Add 3 diced garlic cloves. cook 1 minute. Deglaze with about 5 cups of water and add 2 cans of diced tomatoes. Add a few tablespoons of cumin and chile powder. Put the beef back in here and cover it. Put it in the oven at 300 for 3 or 4 hours. When it is fork tender and shreddy, remove the beef from the pot and shred it. Add 2 diced potatoes and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes until tender. Add the veggies to the shredded beef mix. You may need to add a little bit of the juice too, but you don’t want it too juicy or the empanadas will have trouble closing. – Note: I didn’t formally write an exact recipe, cause this doesn’t need to be exact at all. Look at the pictures and follow your nose!

Green sauce
4 cuban peppers
2 anahiem peppers
4 thai peppers
2 handfuls of cilantro
About 8 green onions
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of 2 limes
Glug or 2 of red wine vinegar
Large spoonful(dollop?) of sour cream

toss it all into a food processor and blend it up real good.