Posted On April 21, 2021 By In Regulars With 9 Views

FROM THE KITCHEN – A Win-Win Situation

by Joan Saunders | photos by Amanda Cribdon Photography –

Last Mother’s Day, at the beginning of this wacky time, I told my son Connor that all I hoped for as a gift was for him to bake cinnamon buns with me. It was a present that gave me all I really wanted: time doing something together while the world swirled around and, very importantly, cinnamon buns. It was a win-win situation.

This year, we’re making empanadas. What’s not to love? Pastry wrapped around a meaty filling ticks a lot of boxes in this household.

What I also love about empanadas is that you can throw in whatever works for you. Don’t want to use beef? No worries: use turkey, chicken or make them vegetarian with cooked diced potatoes and vegetables. I like to add in some chorizo or sriracha to add a bit of a kick, but if your kids don’t like spice, just keep it simple. They’re an exciting alternative for a lunch kit; you could even put together a breakfast empanada with cheese, sautéed veggies and scrambled egg.

My son and I have been baking and cooking together since he was little. In the early days it was a bit more of an abstract adventure as the kitchen usually looked like a flour/sugar bomb had gone off by the time we were finished.

Now, however, he’s a creative cook who inspires me to push myself a bit further and learn new skills. We like to sit down, crank up the tunes and explore some cookbooks. And that, for me, is definitely another win-win, even without cinnamon buns or empanadas.

Empanada Dough
(or you can purchase ready-made)

4½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp salt
1 cup / 8 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tbsp vinegar

Using a large bowl, put salt and flour in, add cubes of butter; blend with pastry blender until you have a coarse mix with some small lumps of butter. Mix together the eggs, water and vinegar in another bowl. I use a fork. Add to the flour; mix with fork until combined. Turn out onto lightly floured counter; gently knead enough to bring dough together. Form dough into two flat rectangles; wrap in plastic. Chill for at least an hour (up to six hours).

Using a large bowl, put salt and flour in, add cubes of butter; blend with pastry blender until you have a coarse mix with some small lumps of butter. Mix together the eggs, water and vinegar in another bowl. I use a fork. Add to the flour; mix with fork until combined. Turn out onto lightly floured counter; gently knead enough to bring dough together. Form dough into two flat rectangles; wrap in plastic. Chill for at least an hour (up to six hours).

Empanadas
(makes about 16 six-inch empanadas)

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
½ onion, chopped small or bunch green onions, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp oregano
¾ lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp raisins
1½ tbsp chopped green olives
1 14-ounce/398 ml can diced tomatoes in juice, drained; reserve 2 tbsp juice
And, if wanted, spice: I like to add a few dashes of sriracha

To bake: 1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp water for wash
Using skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil. Cook and stir until softened. Add in garlic, oregano and cumin; cook for another minute, stirring. Add the beef; cook. Stir to break up lumps. Cook for about 4 minutes until no longer pink.

Add raisins, olives, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and tomatoes along with extra 2 tbsp juice. Cook until liquid reduces but meat mix is still moist: about 5-7 minutes. Stir in hard boiled eggs. Put the mixture on a plate to cool; it’s easier to put the empanadas together with the filling cooled.
Preheat oven to 400°

To make the empanadas, you can use an empanada maker/folder, as we did. Or use a six-inch round cookie cutter and fold and crimp them by hand. Using a fork to seal the edges works best.

Take one of the dough rectangles and cut into 8 equal chunks. Roll out individually on a floured board. You will need to put some strength into this, but the dough is very stretchy, which is great. Cut out the circle, put about 2-3 tbsp of meat mixture into the centre of the circle, then fold over to form a semi-circle. Crimp with a fork. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

To bake: Brush empanadas with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Freezes well.

Extra dough? Fill with jam and sprinkle on some sugar to make a yummy turnover. Bake as with the empanadas.

Other filling options: walnuts, diced cooked potatoes, chorizo, chicken or ground turkey, cooked diced carrots, peas, diced ham, cheese, diced red pepper, chopped apple.

These empanadas are amalgamated from wonderful sources you can check out:www.tastesbetterfromscratch.com/empanadas/
www.cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014844-beef-empanadas
www.smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/beef-empanadas/
www.smittenkitchen.com/2007/04/chicken-empanadas-with-chorizo/

About

seaside

Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *