I have a confession for you. I’ve never actually had an empanada. It seems like something I’d love, right? Delicious goodies baked in a pocket of love and bread. It’s right up my alley! Somehow, I just never had one. I’ve been on a little bit of a Mexican food kick so I decided to try to make them.
This is going to be another one of those posts where you can learn from my epic failures like this, this, or this. Even though I had trouble making these, they still turned out really well. At first, my dough was too dry so I added a LOT more water. I really should learn that adding a little many times is better than just guessing and adding way too much. This, unfortunately, is not the first time I’ve made this mistake. So my dough was too wet and I had to try to add more flour and dry it out. Then when I was rolling the dough out, I rolled it too thin and it started ripping (also partly due to the dough being to wet). Somehow I managed to get a few of them in the oven and baked them to delicious perfection.
All of my troubles were with the dough. The filling was perfect. I had a little extra and I decided to use it like salsa on tortilla chips because there was no way I was going to waste any of it.
My boyfriend, who knows I cook a lot and I make most of what we eat, was surprised by how good they were.
“Did you make these?” – Boyfriend (as he takes another huge bite)
“Um. Yes.” – Me
“From scratch?” – Boyfriend (while chewing)
“Yeah….” – Me
“Oh… They’re really good.” – Boyfriend
Success! Even though they weren’t perfect, they were still a hit. And that’s all that really matters, right? Right?
3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for sprinkling)
3/4 cups masa harina
2 tbsp butter shopped into tiny cubes
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg white
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
For the filling:
1 can corn
2 medium tomatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 anaheim pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp curry powder
cooked ground beef (optional)
Combine the flour, masa harina, salt, and chili powder. Add in the butter cut into tiny cubes and 1/2 cup water. Mix until a dough forms. Add more water a tablespoon at a time if needed to form the empanadas dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a 3" circle that will be about 1/2" thick. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling. The circles should rest at least 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Chop the onion and anaheim pepper. Mince the garlic. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic to the heated oil. Saute until the onion begins to just brown. In the meantime, chop the tomato and drain the corn. Add the tomato and the corn to the pan. Saute until the corn and tomatoes are heated through. Just before you remove the pan from the heat, add the curry powder. Saute for about 30 more seconds and then remove the filling from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the freezer if using immediately.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. After you are done with the filling and the dough has rested for 1/2 and hour, remove it from the refrigerator and roll each circle out until it is a 5" circle and about 1/4" thick. Do not roll it to thin or it won't be strong enough to hold the filling. Spoon some of the filling in the middle of each round. Add the cooked ground beef if using. Don't over stuff the empanadas or the dough will rip. Wet the edge of the dough and fold it in half to make a pocket. Use a fork to press the edges together. Add 1 tbsp of water to the egg white and brush the tops with the egg mixture. Place the empanadas on a lightly greased cooking sheet. Pierce the top with a fork and sprinkle a small amount of cheese on each one if using. Bake the empanadas for 20 minutes until the outside is a light brown.
Remove from the oven and don't burn your mouth by eating the empanadas right away. Just wait a little bit (I know they smell delicious). Ok, now you can enjoy your delicious empanadas!