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! 

Cloud Eggs – An Eventful Mothers Day Breakfast Even a Kid Could Make! 

Cloud Eggs- A culinary staple in egg cookery but are all the rage right now. So fun to make, and eat! Perfect for a surprise breakfast treat! 

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

Pink Himalayan or Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese.( Fine grate )

3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 450° and line a large high sided baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

Separate egg whites and egg yolks, placing the egg whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. Careful not to break the yolk. Set yolks aside. 

Season the egg whites with salt and pepper. 

Using a whisk or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 

Gently fold in Parmesan, and chives. 

Create 4 mounds of egg whites on the prepared baking sheet and indent the centers of each to look like nests. Bake until slightly golden, about 3 minutes.

After three minutes, and whites are sturdy-carefully add an egg yolk to the center of each egg white cloud. 

Season yolk with salt and pepper. Bake until the yolks are just set, about 3 additional minutes.
Enjoy!

Variations

Add chopped cooked pancetta, crumbled bacon, diced ham, small chipped red bell peppers , scallions–or any of your favorite breakfast foods to the egg whites after they have stiff peaks. Be extra careful not to deflate the whites when folding in. Serve with a classic Bloody Mary. On or off toast. 

10 Tried and True Suggestions to Make Cooking with Kids Fun…. (For Everyone!)

The kitchen is a terrific place to bond with children. Whether you’re planning to rustle up breakfast, or decorating cookies, you can create memories that will last a lifetime. Here are 10 super suggestions for making cooking with the kids fun for everyone!

Safety First– Kids need to understand the importance of safety. Teach young children to stay away from the hot stove, sharp knives, and other kitchen dangers. Every child loves to pour the milk and add the flour, so take a couple extra seconds to turn off the mixer and let them! Even better, do the mixing by hand when you can! That leads right into….

Cootie Protection– Good hygiene is an essential kitchen lesson to teach your kids. Make sure they understand the importance of washing their hands often, sneezing away from food, and to use clean dish cloths and cutting surfaces to avoid cross contamination. If you do it they will too!

The Simpler the Better– Kids love to dig in with both hands. Choose recipes that are easy, hand formed cookies are a fun start that keeps them involved.

Dont Watch the Clock– If the recipe says it takes 20 minutes to prepare count on 40 with kids in the kitchen. Plan accordingly and keep it fun. You and your child will have a much more enjoyable experience if you are not in a hurry, and the extra time is well spent when you consider those priceless memories and life skills!

Relax and have fun– There WILL BE funny shaped cakes, maybe a few egg shells in the batter. Take it all to heart and give praise often, even if it’s not perfect. This is a great time to share your own memories or even a baking secret. Shhhhhh!

Its Not Just About Cooking – The kitchen makes a fantastic classroom for kids. Learning to read and follow written directions is a very important lesson. Take advantage of showing them how fractions work in a recipe, how many minutes are in an hour when baking a cake, or the science in making a souffle rise, the educational opportunities are endless.

How to Answer Why? We all know thats a childs favorite question. Even if they don’t ask it you can provide all kinds of useful information. Explain why you need yeast in the bread, how baking soda works in cakes and cookies, and the differences between similar items like granulated sugar and confectioners sugar. Give them an opportunity to see, touch, and smell all the ingredients you are using in the recipe.

Food Safety – It’s important to teach kids how to care for food. Make kids aware of the bacteria that can live in food if not treated properly. Remind them that hot food should be kept hot (over 140 F) and cold food cold (under 40 F).

It’s OK to Use a Mix- The attention span of small children can be short to say the least. Using a mix can take less time, leave less room for error, and create less of a mess. Yes, this is one of those times where less can be more! Keep mixes handy for when time is of the essence. So what if its not made from scratch it was still time well spent!

Clean Up – Teach children that cleaning up is all part of the process. Do it as you go to keep a safe and sanitary cooking area. Remind them that no good chef leaves the kitchen until its clean.