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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Empanadas (Meat Filling)

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry and it literally means to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas have many different fillings from sweet to savory and each Latin country has their own version. My pastry dough recipe is from my Mom's friend from Cuba, or our Tia as we called her, and the filling is based on a Spanish style meat sauce.

Ingredients For Meat Filling  (Double this recipe if you want some great taco filling!)
1/2 pound ground meat of your choice ( I like half beef half pork)
11/2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Latin Sofrito
1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Sweet Spanish Paprika
1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin

cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup Dry White Wine

1/2 cup  tomato puree or left over sauce
Directions For Filling
Cook the meat just until done and set aside. In the same pan saute the sofrito in the oil until translucent. Add all of the spices and cook for a few minutes Add the wine and cook it for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat until it is reduced down to a semi thick paste like sauce. Add back the meat and taste to see if it needs more salt. Cover and keep on low heat for about 10 minutes. If it is too soggy add a little flour and cook for a minute. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool off so that it won't tear the pastry.  

Ingredients For Dough (You will also need a pot of canola oil for frying)
 11/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons crisco straight from the fridge

1 egg
  3-4 tablespoons white wine
a few tablespoons ice water reserved in case in it needs more moisture
Directions For Dough
Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Add crisco and pulse until it is the size of peas. Add the eggs and wine and pulse until it forms a dough and then immediately stop pulsing. if it does not seem wet enough add the water 1 tablespoon at a time pulsing to see if it forms. Form into a loaf and dump it on to a plastic wrap sheet and wrap up.  Place in the fridge for atleast an hour.
Directions For Preparing The Meat Empanadas

Heat your oil up to 375
Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a 3-4 inch circle.
Place a small amount of meat into the center of each circle and fold over press down to release any air and seal with finger. Now take a fork and crimp as you slide the tongs onto the counter.
Fry until golden on each side and drain on paper towels.

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