Last night before I left work, I received an alert from the local electric company informing me of a thunderstorm warning with high winds expected. They also said their crews would be standing by. This meant I would not be out at the grill barbequing dinner. I needed something new, something I have not cooked in a while, but also blog worthy. BEEF EMPANADAS sounded like the perfect solution. I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up what I needed.
My shopping list and ingredients included: 2 eggs beaten (I had eggs at home), 1 pound of chop meat, 1 cup beef broth (I had Better than Bullion on hand too), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons Cholula sauce, 2 onions (diced fine), 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (I own a tube of this), 4 cloves of garlic (I always have garlic), 1/2 teaspoon oregano (yup), 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cloves (I had to buy this and this shit is expensive), 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons sugar, and shredded Monterey Jack Cheese. Lastly, in the frozen food aisle was Goya Empanada premade circles of puffed pastry. See below.
Now, you could always make your own dough.
3 3/4 cups (18 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
1 1/4 cups ice water
To make the dough: Add the flour, sugar, and salt to your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. It’s not dough yet. Dump the contents of the food processor into a large bowl. Gradually add ice water (about 1/4 cup at a time up to one cup), and use a wooden spoon to work it into the dry. Continue until the dough comes together. You may not need all of the water, or, you may need slightly more. It depends on the flour and weather that day, more specifically the humidity. Turn the dough onto your work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. The flour needs time for its gluten to do its thing.
Preheat oven to 425 F .
NOW for the filling. To make the filling: Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Give it a stir occasionally, until the onion softens in about 3 minutes. Now, I added the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves and cayenne pepper. Then, heat that all up, stirring just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Brown the meat—this will take about 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until most of the liquid has cooked off. The meat should be moist but not wet, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat under the pan and mix in the sugar, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cool.
To assemble the empanadas: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If working with fresh dough, work with one ball of the dough at a time, place it on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out as many circles of dough as you can. Place them to the side on the baking sheet with parchment paper. Repeat with the second ball of dough, placing those circles on a second baking sheet.
I used the premade ones, which saved me an enormous amount of time.
Assemble: Use a spoon and dip it in a small bowl egg wash (two eggs beaten until pale yellow) and moisten the edges of the dough. Place 1 large rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Now fold the dough over into a half-moon shape so the edges meet. Press them together with your fingers to seal, then use a fork to crimp them shut tight. (TIP: dip the fork in egg wash if it’s sticking to the dough). Transfer stuffed empanada back to the parchment-lined baking sheet. I used a butter knife to carefully scrape the empanada off the counter. You could also use an icing spatula the same way. Continue this process until you’ve filled and sealed all your disks.
Now let’s bake them immediately. In a preheated oven to 425 F with racks in the upper and lower third, brush the empanadas with the egg wash, then bake for about 20 minutes (rotating the baking sheets halfway through), or until the empanadas are golden brown.
While those were cooking, I made a salad and some guacamole.
Enjoy this recipe now, or save it for May 5th. More importantly, enjoy your family, friends, and LIFE.
The Drunken Chef (Russ)