Sunday, June 2, 2013

Beefy Empanadas

 The elusive pasty truck of St. Paul makes yet another appearance in our lives. This time, my lovely sister Samantha flew in from Minnesota to make a guest star appearance at my graduation and graduation party. As always, her arrival brings a flurry of activity to the kitchen, with my dad making his famous pickles and classic red beet eggs, my older, older sister exciting to have copious amounts of time and baking supplies nearby and Samantha's belligerent request that I make her pasties. It's been fun! 
But, for her arrival, it was time for me to try a recipe that my brother and I made a long time ago. Something so delicious that last time I had them, I ate so many I felt sick. Same thing happened with calzones years ago, and I recently overcame my fear of them too! Anyways, empanadas!

 A dish that can be made sweet or savory to fit your mood! I always like the savory approach to cleanse the baking palate, but here's a slight sweet twist to keep you coming back for more! Some people prefer theirs to be fried, but I found an alarming lack of difference in the outcomes between baked and fried, thus I choose the healthier method to present to you!

Oven Temp: 350 F
Prep Time: 25 minutes +1 hour cooling
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Ready-In: 1 hr 45 minutes

3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
Flour all your surfaces!
1 egg
1 egg white (save yolk for later)
1 tsp vinegar
3 tbls shortening or softened butter
 1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 raisins
2 tbls brown sugar
1 1/2 ground beef
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger
2 tbls canola oil
1 tsp chives
salt and pepper to taster

Begin by preparing your dough. In a bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
Cut the shortening or butter into the flour mix until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour the liquid ingredients from the first bowl into the center.
Knead until the dough comes together, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour, but no more than a day.
While the dough is chilling, prepare your filling. I went with a rather nontraditional approach by adding a subtle sweetness using raisins and a little sugar.
Heat the canola oil in a large frying pan. Stir in chopped onions and beef until the meat is cooked through. Mix in raisins,  cumin, ginger and......... Remove from heat. I'm sorry for the lack of photos....raw and cooked ground beef are pretty darn un-photogenic!
Preheat oven to 350. When do is ready, divide into 10 parts. Roll into balls then roll into into 6 to 8 inch circles.

 Scoop filling into half the circle. Fold the opposite edge over and pinch shut with a fork or your fingers.

 Lay on ungreased baking sheet. Using the egg yolk from the dough, mix in equal parts water and gently paint the surface of the empanadas for a nice golden crust.

Bake for about 20 minutes, when the outside because a golden brown. Best served warm.

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