I’ve been on vacation this week. Just hanging out at the homestead, attending to a couple of appointments, working on house stuff and generally just being a slug. I believe everyone needs time like this. It’s also given me a chance to do some cooking that I typically don’t get to do during the week.
Earlier this week I tried making cheese. I didn’t write up a post about it because frankly, it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. I tried twice and instead of getting mozzarella I got ricotta. Tastes great, but I’m bummed that I didn’t get the results I wanted. I’ll try it again soon – stay tuned.
Today I decided to make beef empanadas. Man oh man, I love those little crispy pockets of flavor. Sweet and savory at the same time – a winning combo! Paired with a nice crisp, hoppy beer and a green bean salad. Yum! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4 pound ground beef chuck
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
- 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
- empanada dough (recipe follows)
- About 4 cups vegetable oil
- a deep-fat thermometer
Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
Add raisins, olives, 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.
Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. On a lightly floured worksurface roll each piece of dough into a disc approximately 6″ in diameter. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. Make more empanadas in same manner.
Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.
Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.
Empanadas can be brushed with oil and baked on an oiled baking sheet in a 425°F oven until golden, about 10 minutes. (They will not be as crisp as fried empanadas.)
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Sift flour with salt into the bowl of a food processor, add butter and pulse 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 and pulse until dough just holds together.
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 a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.