Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The best endorsement I get is the "Dad, can you make ____ for our _____ celebration at school?"  So the latest ad-lib fill-ins were Empanadas and Spanish...  Now, I'm a Midwestern boy through and through, so the recipe is tricky.  It actually comes from the snack bar manager at Fords baseball field where the kids play a tournament every summer.  The guy is nice and the empanadas are fought over.  Here is my approximation of the recipe.

I made the dough this time, although you can buy the dough at most grocery stores.  The filling is a great thing for the kids to help with - from cutting to cooking to filling.  Alex helped on this project and we had a good time, even if the whole process is a little long.  The results were worth it.

Empanada dough -
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 stick frozen butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg
1/3 cup cold water
1 Tbsp white vinegar

Filling -
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced or passed through a garlic press
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbsp raisins (my kids don't like the raisins, so out they go)
Chopped olives, a generous amount
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained although reserving 2 Tbsp
Large bag of grated mozzarella cheese

1) Put flour, salt, and butter in food processor until butter is chopped into fine pellets
2) Lightly beat egg, vinegar and water, then pulse into flour a few times
3) Turn onto a floured surface and lightly work the dough until it forms a loose ball.  Don't overwork it or the butter will melt.  Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate an hour.
4) Cut dough in half and roll out to 1/8 of an inch.  Cut out 6" circles from the dough.  Re-roll out and re-cut circles until both halves of the dough is used.  Put circles on sheet trays, cover with saran wrap and back into the fridge they go.
5) Prepare the filling.  Saute onions and garlic in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes.  Add the spices, cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add the turkey, cook until browned.  Don't cover or it will be too liquidy.  Add the tomatoes and olives, cook until warmed through.  Take of the stove and cool.
6) Make the empanadas - put a tsp of filling in the middle of the empanada dough, top generously with cheese, wet the edges of the circle, fold and press ends together with a fork.  Set aside and make the next.
7) When the empanadas are completed, brush top and bottom with olive oil, place on the sheet pan and roast them until the dough is a light golden color.  You could deep fat fry them, but they become too oily.  Baked they are deliciously buttery.  Enjoy.

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