One of our most popular dishes has been paella. It's a great dish for two people to prepare because it involves quite a bit of prep work. There are onions and peppers to chop, chicken and sausage to be sliced and shrimp to be cleaned. It gives us a lot of time to talk, laugh and enjoy a glass of wine while we work. The end result is pretty fantastic, too. Paella is delicious.
We've had empanadas on the "must make" list for a while. We weren't looking to make a truly authentic filling for ours because we had some leftover spicy pork I had made for tacos and burritos. Thanksgiving leftovers would make some tasty empanadas, too. For the dough, we used a simple, traditional recipe (below). It went together in minutes and was extremely easy to work with.
Basic Empanada Dough
- 3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoons butter, shortening or lard
In a small bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the 3 cups of flour and salt.
Cut the butter (or shortening or lard) into the flour mix using a pastry blender or two knives. Make a well in the center and pour in the liquid ingredients.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until a stiff dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no more than 24 hours.
When you are ready to prepare your empanadas, divide dough into 10 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and then, on a floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll ball out into a six inch circle. Place several tablespoons of filling in the center of the circle. Using a wet fingertip, moisten the edges of the circle. Fold dough over filling and crimp edges with the tines of a fork. Set aside on baking sheet that has been dusted flour (if you will be frying them) or lined with parchment paper (if you will be baking them).
We fried our empanadas in the deep fryer at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. If you would prefer, you can bake them in a 400° degree oven for 25 minutes.
Enjoy your empanadas!
*A quick note about fillings - because of the short cooking time involved, you should choose a filling that is already cooked. Meats, especially, would not have enough time to cook through.
Do you and your spouse like to work in the kitchen together? If you do, what are your favorite recipes to make?