Friday, November 18, 2011

Yummy Empanadas!

Let me set the stage for you.  Earlier this week we discovered a 3 pound pack of hamburger in the freezer. it had been in there for a good while and was in danger of becoming freezer burnt. I had already pulled out some chicken and a london broil for meals this week.  The hamburger thawed out much faster than expected.  I cooked it up but had no clue as to how I would use it.  Then I remembered empanadas. "What's that?" you say.  Empanadas are little meat pies. Think hot pockets but filled with yummy meat mixtures (they can be made in dessert fashion as well).  Every recipe online required things that I did not have in the pantry (mainly onions) or ingredients that I knew my family would not eat.  And, I had stuff in the fridge that needed to be cooked before it spoiled.

After scouring different recipes, I found an empanada dough recipe from here.  The recipe for the meat mixture looked good, but didn't fit into my fridge cleaning plan.  As for the dough, I would recommend reducing the flour by 1/2 cup. you can add it later, but I ended up adding a lot of extra water to get most of it incorporated.  For a larger empanada, take a 2 inch ball and roll it out into a circle.  This will make a hot pocket sized empanada.  For an appetizer type, roll out the dough very thin and use a 3" cookie cutter to cut small circles. Fill with a rounded teaspoon of meat mixture.  For both, moisten the edges with water or egg and then use a fork to push the pastry together.  I've used a pie crust before, but this was better.

Now for the meat mixture:

2 - 2 1/2 lbs. cooked hamburger
1/2 roll of cooked sausage
1 large shredded carrot
1 finely diced stalk of celery
3 - 4 cups of good quailty pasta sauce or fire roasted diced tomatoes
8 ounces goat cheese

  1. In a pan, cook shredded carrot and finely diced celery until soft (around 8 minutes). 
  2. Add cooked beef and sausage and stir.
  3. Add 2 cups of the sauce.
  4. Crumble goat cheese and add to the pan.  Stir it in until melted.
  5. If the meat mixture is very dry, add more sauce.  The mixture should not be runny, but everything should be well coated with the sauce/cheese mixture.  My sauce was very thick and took at least 3 cups.
  6. Cool mixture.
  7. Take your empanada dough an begin to roll out your pieces.  Each piece should be very thin.  If I had a pasta maker, I would have rolled the dough through it to give my arms a break!
  8. Fill each with the meat mixture and seal. Poke a vent hole in the top.
  9. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-18 minutes depending on the size of the empanada. 
  10. Any uncooked leftovers can be frozen for later use.
I was planning on freezing some of these, but they went fast!  So fast this morning I realized that we forgot to take the corn out of the microwave!  We were downing these as they came out of the oven! 

This is a great recipe. You can change the meat mixture or use chicken or pork.  Anything would work as long as you don't fill it with a lot of liquid. 

P.S. Sorry for not having a picture.  After I ate the first one, I didn't even remember to pull out the camera!

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