Recipe: Empanadas and Sopaipilla

Empanadas

Adapted from: Food Network – Empanadas

Ingredients and Equipment (Dough)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
3/4 cup chicken stock
Large round cookie cutter or other implement
Parchment paper

Yield: 6-8 servings

Directions

Combine the dough, bake powder, sugar, and salt in to a bowl. Cut the shortening in to fine pieces and add to the flour mixture.

Note: I had trouble with melting the shortening with with the heat of my hands. I don’t have a pastry blender, so keep that in mind when working with the shortening.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, then add the chicken stock. Combine the the egg with the flour mixture and knead until it becomes a dough. I used my whisk to do this, which was a mistake … Once a dough, put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After working on the filling (below), roll out the dough and cut in to rounds. I used my largest cookie cutter, which I felt was still a little too small. My cookie cutter is 4.5 inches.

Note: With the 4.5 inch cookie cutter, I got about 6 rounds. You may get a few more if you roll the dough thinner, so keep that in mind if you do 6 inch rounds.

Fill the rounds, ensuring there’s enough room to close the round. Once closed, pinch close at the seam and poke holes with a fork. I did this, but apparently not well enough, and a few popped open during cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet with the parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until done.

Ingredients and Equipment (Filling)
1 pound ground beef
8-10 oz of beef stock (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Half large onion
Bell pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 cloves minced garlic

Yield: ~12 servings (I had lots leftover and not enough dough)

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat olive oil, and brown the ground beef. Turn the heat down and add the tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic, onion, and chopped bell pepper. I added some beef stock because it was a bit dry and let it simmer. It was worth it.

Final thoughts: The filling was good, but needed something more. The dough was a bit thick (my fault for not rolling it out more), but nice and flaky. Overall I’m pretty pleased.

Sopaipilla

Adapted from: Taste of Home – Sopaipillas

Note: Aside from a bit more flour and baking, this is a copy of the recipe. I agree with several of the comments that were left about the dough being bland. In some cases where I left the dough a bit thicker, they fluffed up, but the flavor was that of a plain dough. I might try this again and add something. Feel free to experiment and let me know!

Ingredients and Equipment
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1/3 cup warm water
Honey
Round cookie cutter or other implement
Parchment paper

Yield: 12

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the shortening in to fine pieces.

Note: I found it difficult to work with the shortening because the heat from my hands caused it to start melting.

Slowly add the water, mixing with a fork until the dough forms crumbly balls.

On a floured surface, knead the dough. I put the dough in the fridge fridge for 10-15 minutes while working on other things, but you can put it aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the dough has rested, roll out and cut with a knife or the cookie cutter. This is where a round cookie cutter came in handy. Place the rounds on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until done. Drizzle with honey or dip in to honey once cooled.

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