Monday, March 31, 2008

Beef Empanadas...I hope

This is the game plan. Thaw out the extra cornmeal crust from making my Green Eggs and Ham quiche and use it to make beef empanadas based on a recipe from Gourmet's Sept. '07 issue. Plan of attack: Make the filling. Roll out the dough and build one lonely little empanada. Bake sole empanada. Taste test the empanada. If it's a go, use the rest of the filling to make more. If it's even a so-so response, plop the rest of the filling unceremoniously atop a plate of goodies that constitute our usual taco salad and be done with it! the empanadas were good. But, oh-so frustrating to make with the cornmeal dough. It just wasn't flexible enough to pull over the filling without creating Frankenempanadas. Good thing I was enjoying a bout of patience (not the norm!), since I had to patch all the holes and be very delicate in placing them on the baking sheet for fear of making more splits. The one in the photo is the purtiest one I got out of 5. I did have lots of filling left over, since I really didn't have enough dough to make the whole batch. I'm just going to use the rest of the filling to make enchiladas for the freezer. Several of the recipes I found call for using frozen empanada dough disks. Just do that if you can find them, a store bought pie dough like Pillsbury, or use a recipe that creates a pie dough that can be stretched a bit more readily. We did really enjoy the cornmeal in the crust though. Maybe if I'd made the pastry recipe as it was written with mostly unbleached white flour instead of all white whole-wheat, it would have made it a lot easier to work with. I'm sure you could sub ground turkey meat for the beef.

Beef Empanadas:

1 recipe for double crust pie dough, or 1 package frozen empanada disks, thawed
~1 lb tenderized round steak, chopped finely (or you could use already ground, but I liked the texture of the chopped steak)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
~1 tsp ground cumin
~1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (no recipe I found called for this, so use it only if you want)
~1/2 tsp dried oregano
red pepper flakes to taste
1- 14 oz can of stewed tomatoes, drained with juice reserved...chopped
~2-3 Tbs reserved tomato juice
~1/3 cup chopped green olives with pimentos
2-3 Tbs raisins (I used dried cranberries)
~1/2 tsp salt
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (we used fresh duck eggs from Frank :-)
Optional: I happened to have a wee bit of shredded cheddar that needed to be used up, so I sprinkled a bit over the filling in each empanada before closing them up.

Heat a non-stick skillet over med., add a little oil and brown beef for about 4 minutes, or until you no longer see any pink.
Remove meat from skillet and drain off any fat.
Add some olive oil to the skillet and cook onions until soft...about 5 min.
Then add back in the meat along with the spices, tomatoes, olives, and raisins and cook to blend the flavors, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the eggs.
Allow mixture to cool.

If using your own homemade dough:
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil, or parchment paper and oil lightly.

Divide dough into 10 pieces. I rolled out the cornmeal crust between sheets of plastic wrap and then put them back in the fridge to firm up again. I only took them out of the fridge one at a time. But, you probably won't be playing the martyr with cornmeal dough, so just carry on as written. :-)
Roll and then cut one piece into about a 6" circle, lay on prepared baking sheet, and spoon about 3 Tbs of filling onto half of the circle, leaving about a 1" border. Brush the edge of the pastry with an egg wash or a little warm water, fold over the empty half, seal remaining edges. Cut a small slit to vent steam. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned. I turned mine over after about 15 minutes in an effort to crisp up the tops.

If you're using frozen empanada disks:
Another recipe I found had you heat the oven to 425. Brush the empanadas with oil, and bake until golden, in about 10 minutes.

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