Adapted from Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen
Ever since we were offered a steaming plate of cheese and meat empanadas during a rowdy Colombian soccer game, we’ve been desperate to make some of our own. Today we embarked on a fairly long empanada adventure, and only just now pulled them out of the oven. I debated about posting this, because I have to admit the empanadas were not fantastic, and I try to only post wonderful things. They were good, quite good, and I’ve already eaten three. But the recipe definitely needs some work, and I’m hoping some of you can help me. I found them too dry and a little lacking in flavor. Next time, I’ll add more spices but what to do about the lack of moisture? Help me out yall!
Update: We tried frying our second batch and wow, what a difference. So delicious this time!
Serving: Makes a dozen 6-inch empanadas
2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped into bits
1 egg for egg wash
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped (I decided to use fresh tomatoes instead, which works just as well)
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed (or homemade, recipe follows)
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1. Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened.
2. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
4. Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Stir in hard boiled egg and spread on a plate to cool.
1. Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
2. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)
3. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together.
4. Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.
5. When done chilling, lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches, or smaller, depending on the size you desire. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. Make rest of empanadas in same manner.
1. Beat together one egg and 2 teaspoons of water.
1. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Lightly brush empanadas with egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes.
3. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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