I love empanadas but have never made them before. I'm always looking for new things to make because I get very bored with the same ol' same ol'. I hardly ever cook with hamburger, yet I had a pound in the freezer that I wanted to use up. Taco salad? Nah. Chili? Nah. Empanadas!
These little hand held pockets are so delicious. They're a little time consuming to make, but well worth the effort. Mine aren't very traditional, but they were exactly what I wanted. My kids ate them up!
Here's what I put into my empanadas:
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno, seeded and fine diced
salt and pepper
approximately 2 cups grated monterey jack cheese
Heat 3-4 Tbsp oil in a skillet and saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeno until fragrant. Add the ground beef and cook until done. Add 2-3 tsp chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Add more seasoning if needed.
Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Stir in until melted and coated.
Make the empanada dough --
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup masa harina
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup water (plus or minus 1 tbsp)
Mix together dry ingredients. Using a fork, mix in the butter and distributed within the flour. Slowly add water, carefully mixing with the fork until it begins to pull together. Form into a ball and wrap with saran. Pop in the fridge and hold for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into approx. 1 ounce balls (think ping pong ball size). Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circle. Spoon filling into the middle.
Now here's where you can decide how to close the pocket. Traditionally, you are supposed to braid the edge, but some people use a fork to crimp it closed. Personally, the braid/twist thing is MUCH prettier and it isn't very difficult to do. I found a very handy YouTube video showing you how to fold the edges to give it the braided look.
Once your empanadas are made, cover and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
There's one final decision to be made. Fry or bake? They can be cooked either way. We fried ours because I think they looked better that way. Plus, I didn't want a super hard crust from baking, know what I mean? (Not saying they would, but my husband was pushing for fried)
If you use the oven, preheat to 375* and bake for 25-30 minutes.
If you're frying, heat your oil to 375* and fry for approximately 5-6 minutes or until the empanada is beautifully golden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil and sit on paper towels to drain.
Serve with fresh guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.