Wednesday, May 13

beef empanadas

Cooking for two, I inevitably have leftovers. Instead of incorporating all three chicken breasts in that package or the entire pound of ground beef into the same dish, I try to cook the meats separately so that I can set 2/3 of them aside to freeze for two additional dishes. Otherwise, if I use the entire defrosted package, Tay would be eating the same meal out of the same 4 quart Coringware for an entire month.

I know you were dying to know the background about why I was so excited to find another new entree to try that incorporated ground beef! Furthermore, this involved making a pastry, biscuitish dough, and since I'm trying to bake more breads then I knew I had to try this.
There they are, people. Be sure that you fold and pinch the edges really well. All but one of them popped open and commenced oozing.

And there's the ground beef, mixed with the canned tomatoes and a few bits of cilantro. I wasn't brave enough to add a significant amount of cilantro so I don't think we could taste it. Consequently, I didn't include it as an ingredient in the recipe, but feel free to throw it in. Also, to be honest, I don't remember how much I threw in there so I have no accurate measurement to provide you with. Just Rachel Ray it.More cheese wouldn't have hurt. My hubby doesn't like strong cheeses, but, if I'd had my way, I would have put goat cheese in this. Someone on Smitten Kitchen's site suggested blue cheese which also sounds great to me but not really authentic, not really true to the regional category in which this dish resides. But who cares, really. Try it and invite me over. Really.

I halved this recipe and ended up having almost enough dough for five. Since it should have made six, I must have rolled the dough too thick. Giving measurements is hard, really how can you measure these type of things? 1/8th to 1/6th of an inch? Slightly thicker than a tortilla? Look at my picture above and make it thinner.

Beef Empanadas
adapted from SmittenKitchen
Makes a dozen 6-inch empanadas
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper
3/4 pound ground beef chuck (though I used lean)
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice
1/2 to 1 cup cheese such as monterrey jack or goat cheese
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed (or homemade, recipe follows)
1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water
Cook onion in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Sprinkle with cheese. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp edges together well. Make more empanadas in same manner.

Lightly brush empanadas with egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Empanada Dough
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (when I halved this recipe, I used 1 1/4 c white and 1 cup whole wheat)
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.

This dough was really good!

1 comment:

  1. Erin these look delciious! I love your web site! Contrary to your claims, I definitely think you know what you are doing! Whatever it is, you're doing it well! Congrats!