Empanadas- Savory Hand Pies

So many cultures have a recipe for meat wrapped in pastry. – I just love bold flavored, slow cooked juicy meats and veggies wrapped up in flakey pie crust served piping hot. Mmmmmm. Comfort food. 

I also love pasta sauce and Italian sausage or yellow curry and potatoes, but that’s a whole nother set of recipes. 

IngredientsFor the dough.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 oz unsalted organic butter (1 ½ sticks) 

1 egg

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water or nut or cows milk, adjust as needed to obtain a soft and smooth dough.

Method: For the dough. 

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.

Add the butter and pulse until peasize pieces form- but also careful not to over work the dough. 

Add the egg and the water or milk (in small increments) and continue pulsing until a clumpy dough forms.

Turn out onto a clean floured work surface.  

(To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together.)

Split the dough into 2 large ball, flatten slightly into the shape of disks. The dough can be used immediately or refrigerated until ready to use (1-2 days max). I like to refrigerate any dough covered for at least 30 minutes before rolling. And it gives me time to clean up before moving to the next big step in this recipe. 

After both you and the dough have rested- roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 6-8 inch round disc shapes for empanadas (use large round cookie cutters  for small appetizer sized or draw your own template on clean cardboard. Wrap it in plastic and cut around the pastry with the tip to a sharp knife. Or use a plate. 

You can also make small individual balls with the dough and roll out each individual ball to a round shape (doesn’t need to be perfectly round) – if you have a tortilla press you can use it to flatten the dough balls like that too.

Assembling and Baking the Empanadas:

Make a good egg wash. 1 egg, a dash of cream milk or water and a pinch of salt. Beat with a fork like a scrambled egg. Set aside. 
To assemble the empanadas or handpies, place a heaping spoonful of the goodness filling on the middle of each pastry disc. The amount of filling will vary based on the size of the empanada, but in general, it’s easier to seal an empanada that isn’t overstuffed. Also, the more you make empanadas, the easier it becomes. It’s all in the repetition. 

To seal the empanadas, fold the disc and seal the edges by pressing the dough with your fingers. If you’re having a hard time sealing the edges, you can use brush the inside edges with egg wash- it will act as a glue for the empanadas. Many times I just egg wash the insides of all the discs then fill and fold. It sorta speeds up the process. 

You can also use a fork to help seal the edges, just press the top of the fork against the edges. 

To seal authentic use the repulgue or churito method- ( the curl type seal) , use your fingers to twist the curl the edges of the dough. 

For best results, with the dough ( as most doughs) refrigerating for at least 30 minutes before using and chill the the empanadas before baking – this also helps them seal better and prevents the filling from leaking out.
Form and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Egg wash tops and sides. Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated hot oven at 375’F -400’F. The baking time also varies (again based on the oven and size of the empanadas) but in the range of 10-20 minutes or until the empanadas are golden brown.

Fillings

You can use any type of filling you want, sweet or savory. I love to use my Ropas recipe and add that for filling. Even vegetarian veggie only fillings are delicious. Breakfast fillings work too! 

I especially love vegan potatoes curry in my empanadas- but then, it’s not quite an empanadas anymore and we are into a whole new recipe. I hear a Samosas recipe in my future! 

Using your family stew recipe is a good start. Add chilies and boom you’re on your way. 

Here is a a simple recipe made with ground beef and pork.

Ingredients

1 pound ground pork, grass fed is best 

1 pound ground beef, grass fed is best 

2 medium yellow onions, cleaned diced small

2-3 Tablespoon good quality olive oil 

4-5 Yukon potatoes, washed- not peeled and diced small, the size of a US currency dime.

1 large carrot, peeled and small dice.  

3-4 Serrano chiles, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground Adobo chili ( optional) 

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) organic tomatoes, diced ( drained before adding) 

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional) 

1 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped

Method

In a large high sided 12-14 inch skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. 

Add potatoes, sauté until slightly golden about 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a paper towel. 

Add carrots and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent about 2 to 3 minutes – add the garlic and sauté in additional 1 minute. 

Add the meat season with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Add the jalapeños, all the spices, add the parsley and return the potatoes to the pan. Stir in tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened and flavors are cooked through about 12 to 15 minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper to desired taste. Fold in cilantro. Let cool. Form empanadas. 

Notes
Freeze unbaked individually then store in air tight container. Or bake immediately and enjoy.
To bake previously frozen empanadas, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, rotating baking sheets halfway through, about 30 to 40 minutes. 

You can also egg wash before individually freezing.
Enjoy! 

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