As I mentioned in my “Five Things to Eat in Argentina” post, I ate a lot of empanadas while there. They were cheap and they were delicious, the only two things that really matter to college-age travelers in regards to food. One time I did make empanadas from scratch and by scratch I mean I made the dough too. Since then, wonton wrappers became my “go to” ingredient when making these or similar things like mandu (Korean dumplings) or samosas. Yes, I know, wonton wrappers can hardly substitute for an authentic empanada or samosa. But I went through a phase where while I wanted to cook these exotic dishes, I didn’t want to spend all my time making them. If you noticed, I used the preterite tense for “went” (as in action is done, no chance of reoccurring) in the previous sentence. Last Friday I made empanadas from scratch and I was pleasantly surprised with how relatively easy and quick the dough making process was.
Although I could have made traditional Argentine-style empanadas, I opted for a recipe from the other side of the world, the Philippines to be exact. For my birthday last month I had been given the Williams and Sonoma Essentials of Asian Cooking cookbook. While there are dozens of recipes I can’t wait to try out (anyone interested in attending my dim-sum party sometime?), I opted for the empanadas recipe since they had been after all on my mind as of late.
If you’re wondering how a Latin American food item and this Southeast Asian nation are connected, well, the Philippines were a colony of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years so plenty of cultural influences remain, most notably with food! When you get to the recipe part, you’ll notice that some of the ingredients are very Asian and most likely would not be found in a traditional Argentine or Chilean empanada recipe.
This recipe was incredibly easy to make, the only thing I would say is that you need to have some time to set aside between preparing the dough/letting it chill, making the filling/letting it cool to room temperature, and then of course the actual preparation part. But I think if you do make these, you’ll be very happy with the results.
recipe courtesy of Williams and Sonoma Essentials of Asian Cooking
For the pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons each-cold vegetable shortening and cold unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
1 boiling water, about 1/4 lb
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, cut into 1/8 inch dice
6 oz ground beef
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup small raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
-To make the pastry, sift together the 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Cut the shortening and butter into small pieces. Add to the flour mixture and use your fingers, a pastry blender, or 2 knives to rub them into the flour mixture until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and ice water. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the mixture comes together into a rough mass. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
-To make the filling, peel the potato and cut into 1/8 inch dice. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and saute until softened , about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrot, and potato and saute until the carrot is softened, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high. Crumble the beef into the pan and saute, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.
-On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough. Quickly and briefly knead the dough scraps together just until smooth, pat pit the dough, and cut out additional circles. Transfer the dough circles to a baking sheet lined with parchment baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each dough circle and brush the edges with beaten egg. Fold the dough in half over the filling to form a half-moon and crimp the edges with a fork, preferably one with rounded tines. Arrange the empanadas 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with clean parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the remaining beaten egg and bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
MAKES ABOUT 25 EMPANADAS