Empanadas are a delicious savory filled pastry originating from southern Europe and are now ubiquitous in many Latin countries. A portable tasty treat, they exist in some incarnation in almost every region of the world and vary in shape, consistency of the dough, or the type of filling. The one constant truth behind the empanada is that little pies filled with meat or beans are awesome. We make our empanadas in a style reminiscent of Argentina or Portugal. We choose different fillings based on what is available locally and use the dough as a vehicle to showcase those ingredients. This time around, it was our local beef, oven-roasted chilies, and beans with veggies. Here’s how:
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces butter cut into small pieces
4-5 tablespoons cold water
For the filling
Either 1 pound of cooked ground beef or cooked black beans
8 ounces of queso fresco or queso Oaxaca
1 Guajillo chilies, toasted and ground
1 Ancho chili, toasted and ground
2 New Mexico chilies, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and place in the cooler for later.
A little water to thin the egg out
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer or in a regular bowl if you plan on doing this by hand. It can also be done in a food processor if you like.
Add the butter, egg, and water until a clumpy dough forms.
Form this into a ball and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out into a thin sheet, about 1/8 inch thick and use a biscuit cuter or round glass to cut circles out of the dough.
Fill the dough with a tablespoon of the filling. Fold the circle in half over the filling to form a little half moon shape. Pinch the seam shut with your fingers then crimp the edge with a fork.
Place these on a baking sheet and brush with some egg wash. Bake these in the oven until golden brown. It will take about 15 minutes at 350–375° F.