Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Whether it’s a pastel in Indonesia, a calzone in Italy, a gujiya from India, a meat patty from Australia, or Hot Pockets in the freezer section of the supermarket, the root of these delicacies is the empanada. Empanadas, originating in Portugal and Spain, can be filled with meats, fish or vegetables or made as a dessert filled with fruits like guava with cream cheese.

I like to make small traditional empanadas as hors d’oeuvres, or tapas. Empanadas are easy to make and are the perfect party food served standing alone or with a dipping sauce. They may be frozen once made and reheated in the microwave.
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 small onion, chopped
2 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 pound ground beef
2 teaspoon ground cumin
5.75 oz. jar sliced pimiento-filled green olives, drained
1 c. golden raisins
2 tbsp. honey 
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Several dashes hot sauce
2 large eggs, separated and whisked
1 pkg. mini pastry dough (3” squares)
To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and then swirl in the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté 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.
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. This will help bind the filling together while baking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line a baking sheet.
To form the empanadas, unpeel each leaf of pastry dough and lay out on a floured surface. Wet the edges of the dough with water; made from whisked the egg yolk.  Place I tsp. filling on center of dough. Fold the dough over to form a triangle. Pinch the edges of the dough together. Crimp the edges with a pastry crimper or 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. Enjoy, JW

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