Mother's Day Turnovers (Empanadas)

Submitted by Arfito

 

Empanadas (Fried Dough Pastries) for Mother’s day
 

These are special occasion turnovers that could be filled with a great variety of stuff sweet/savoury.  If you are doing the South Beach Diet or Atkins STOP READING. They are good and do not ask about calories, heck if I know.

 

Ingredients

First you need dough.  I cannot stress enough that you practice until you get it right.

Serves around 4 to 8 people who eat normal portions, ahem make it double.

·          2 to 3 cups of white flour

·          ½ teaspoon of salt or more if you are salty kind but don’t blame me later

·          1 teaspoon baking powder

·          1 teaspoon sugar (granulated kind that you have in the shelf already)

·          4 tablespoons lard, Crisco substitute I don’t know I like vegetable lard

·          3 eggs or equivalent in egg substitute

·          2 tablespoons unsalted butter, yeah I watch it too

·          ½ cup of water or more to get this dough to feel right

·          If you have red cooking wine one tablespoon

 

Get one of those strainers, sifters whatever you call it and a big bowl.

1.      Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Which brand you use of whatever is up to you.

2.      Get another bowl and put half of this sifted dry stuff inside.  Now here is the first trick. Remember kindergarten? Try to make a little well inside the bowl.

3.      Put lard, butter, eggs, wine and water in the well.  Then you are going to mix this stuff with either a spoon, a mixer or whatever you like. This will be mixed until you get dough that you can shape into turnovers.  You may keep adding the other half of the dry stuff or water until you get it right.

4.      Put it in a bowl, cover it and keep in bottom of fridge for at least a couple of hours. I usually start it early morning for night time.

5.      Divide the dough in about 4 parts. I put them in freezer gallon bags. That way when I need it, there they are.

6.      Flour a surface and get your rolling pin out or a nice bottle will do. Roll the dough until you get about the same as a pie crust. Cut into circles. Ok not huge but 8 fingers diameter.

7.      Fill each circle with whatever filling you chose. Fold and seal with a fork. I kind of wet the fork and seal real good. Otherwise the filling will escape when you fry the pastry.

·          Fry in enough vegetable oil until golden brown.  GOLDEN NOT BURNT. Drain on paper. Serve hot with whatever strikes your fancy.

 

 

 Fillings:

They could be ham, sausage, chicken, crab, shrimp, beef, guava paste or whatever else you can come up with.  My personal favorite in the sweet department is guava paste.  In the food happens to be ground beef.
 

Ham

Ingredients

·          6 or 7 tbs. of butter.  No I do not use margarine that is plastic.

·          ¼ to ½ cup of flour

·          2 cups of milk room temperature

·          ¼ fine ground black pepper

·          ¼ fine ground nutmeg (You can omit this)

·          2 cups ground ham of your choice or Spanish sausage (Mexican is fine)  {ed. note - for anyone scratching their head about "Mexican" sausage, it's called chorizo}

 

1.      Make a roux paste with butter and flour. Add milk.

2.      Stir constantly.

3.      Add the rest of the stuff slowly. Use to fill the dough pastries.

Beef

Ingredients

·          1 pound of ground beef

·          1 cup fine chopped yellow onion

·          1 cup fine chopped Italian green pepper (It could be red, yellow, orange whatever)

·          2 tbs of olive oil

·          3 cloves of garlic

·          ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (You can omit it but I stick in because of diabetic concerns)

·          ½ tsp of oregano

·          Salt and black pepper to taste

·          Sometimes I add chopped hard eggs, little bits of potato or even olives

 

1.      Make a sofrito* base by sautéing everything but the meat and salt and pepper.

2.      Add the meat, salt, pepper and whatever extra.

3.      Fill dough circles.

Chicken

Ingredients

·          1 cup of fine chopped white onion

·          3 tbs of olive oil

·          3 cloves of garlic

·          4 pieces of chicken without the bone, I use breasts so my kids will eat it

·          1 bay leaf

·          1 cup of low salt chicken broth

·          ¼ white cooking wine

·          ¼ tsp white pepper if not use the regular

·          3 tbs of white flour

·          3 tbs of cornstarch mixed with at least a ¼ cup of water

1.      Again make a sofrito* with everything but the chicken.

2.      Add the chicken. Fill dough circles.

 

* - OK WHAT IS A SOFRITO?

You put the oil on a pan and you start adding everything slowly in the order I gave you while stirring in low heat.

 

Crab, Shrimp or Lobster fillings are basically the same as the beef except you can add the Italian tomatoes that look like a little pear.  The guava filling is easy! You buy the paste in the Spanish section of the supermarket.  Cut in chunks and you can add alone, or even put a chunk of cream cheese or some other cheese that is creamy.  Enjoy the turnovers! Word to the wise make enough.