I like to remember my roots at the New Year, which usually means comfort food. Since by now I’m pretty comforted thanks to Christmas, I settle for middle ground – a smaller version of a lovely bit of heaven known back home as an empanadas.
Empanadas are good solid food that is portable, and using my Round Comfort Grip™ Cutter, they can also be small enough to burn off quickly! Take them to a party, to work or make some at home for breakfast or lunch. Some of my best memories involve early morning fresh-baked empanadas and coffee with the women in my family.
Empanadas can be as easy or hard to make as you like. I’ve seen my mother cobble some together from leftovers and thawed crescent roll dough. Any bread/pie dough will do for the outside, and any sort of stew can make a good empanada filling. Have fun! Listed here is a traditional Peruvian empanada, minus the hot pepper paste. I like to make the dough first and let it chill while I make the filling.
For dough you will need-
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup butter, chilled and diced in small cubes
- 1-1/2 cup cold water
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 whole egg, beaten
- Brown sugar, about a quarter cup for sprinkling on the empanadas (if desired)
Mix the flour and sugar together. Add butter, using a pastry cutter or a fork or the business end of an egg beater. Blend together until the mixture is crumbly and grainy. Use your hands or a fork.
Make a well.
Whisk the egg yolk and water together and pour into it as you mix the whole thing together with your hand.
If dough is too dry, add more water. It should be pliable and hold together well.
If it’s a bit wet, don’t worry, just flour the rolling surface a bit more to make up for it. Form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. The last two ingredients aren’t used until later.
For a traditional filling you will need-
- 2 small onions, finely diced
- 2 cloves of minced garlic (I use the kind that comes in a jar)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tsps. salt
- 2-3 tsps. ground cumin
- chopped parsley to taste
- About 3 boiled eggs, sliced
- Olives, chopped (I use botija olives but kalamata will do as well)
- Lime wedges for serving if desired
In a sauté pan, cook garlic and onion until wilted and fragrant.
Add ground meat, salt, pepper, and cumin.
Once meat is browned, remove from stove, add chopped olives and set aside to cool for a bit. You don’t want to burn yourself putting these babies together.
Now comes the party.
Prep your baking sheet with Bake Easy™ Non-Stick Spray or wax paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out the dough about 1/8” thick and use your round Wilton Comfort-Grip cutter to start cutting circles.
Once you have a circle, hold it in your palm and add a tablespoon of filling and a nice slice of egg.
Dip your finger or a brush in the beaten egg and moisten the edges. Pinch shut or press a fork’s tines into the edges to seal.
Poke some holes in the top with a fork and set on baking sheet.
Once you fill up a baking sheet with about a dozen, brush empanadas with the beaten egg to make them nice and shiny. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and get happy, because it’s baking time!
Bake for 15 minutes. Serve while still warm or zap for about 10 seconds in the microwave. A squeeze of lime will help everything come together. A square meal in pocket form has GOT to be a good omen, right? Happy New Year, folks, from my (extended) family to yours! Do you have any comfort foods that bring you to a happy place?