chef sarah: the perfect [chilean] empanadas

last sunday [7/17] was a good church day, filled with visiting family [and watching japan win the world cup!], resting, and cooking! i worked most of the afternoon away on these babies, but really, they don't take very much at all if you can stay focused (:

being chilean, i love empanadas, especially those con queso [with cheese, for you non-spanish speakers (; ]. i was talking to an amigo at church earlier in the day about them and my mouth started watering and i knew i had to make them as soon as i got home...so first thing when i got home i compiled all of the necessary ingredients:

note: the first set of steps = part one: just for the dough, then you let it refrigerate for four hours. then in part two you add in your filling.

3 cups flour [give or take a little extra for kneading]
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water [i used a little extra because the dough seemed a bit dry, so just add as you see fit]
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp shortening
1 block of cheese, or any other filling you desire!

so! first step: put your apron on (: this one is especially special, because my mama just recently gave it to me so that i can take it back out to school in utah with me this coming year. and get this: her mama, my grandma adelina, made it for her way back when she first got married - from scratch! just out of a little bit of fabric. i am already in love with it and will wear it whenever i cook/bake in the future. just love my chilean heritage/mama/grandma (:

second step: get two bowls, a small and then a medium one. 

third step: in the small one, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together with a fork.

fourth step: in the medium one, mix together the flour and salt. then cut the shortening into smaller pieces if you are using stick shortening [if you use shortening from a can like i did then this really isn't an issue] and add it into the flour + salt mix.

fifth step: make a little valley/well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the liquid mixture into the center, then mix everything together with a fork until it all becomes stiff [this is where i added a little extra water, because it seemed a little too dry for my liking].

sixth step: put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and [this is the fun part!] knead it all together until it is nice and smooth and you can fit it into your hand all pretty-like.

see?? nice and smooth! give or take a few lumps, but that's okay, too.

seventh step: wrap your little bundle of joy up in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least one hour [but not any more than 24 hours - if you want to make your empanadas later than 24 hours from the time you make the dough, make sure you freeze it instead of refrigerating it or it will get yucky and too hard to work with!] you can also add a 'do not touch this...or else' sign like i did if you are worried about hungry roommates/siblings/children/spouses/parents letting their curiosity get the best of them. end of part one (:

SO! fast forward an hour or so forward, and you are ready for part two: the real cooking of your extra yummy empanadas! (:

first. set up your area where you will be rolling/cutting your empanada dough with some flour. then unwrap your dough and spread it out on your counter and get to work on rolling it out nice and thin! ps - this makes for an awesome upper-body workout, if you're doing it right (;

they should be super-duper thin! almost paper-like. just basically as thin as you can get them without them tearing apart (:

and for a good-sized empanada, make sure it fits your hand [or a small child's... i guess that is more like what my hand size is like]:

second. once you have all of your dough rolled out and cut up [this recipe yielded about 12 empanadas for me] then you place your filling on one side of the dough [so you have enough room to fold it over]. [p.s. anna, this is basically like everything you did to make those homemade pizza rolls a couple months ago!] note: we used shredded pizza cheese because that is all the cheese we had...but in the future [and for all of you!] make sure if you are trying to make all-cheese empanadas that you get a block of cheese and then cut it up so you have just one big piece of cheese in it instead of a bunch of shreds: this helps the cheese to get coated all over the inside instead of just melting on the bottom of the empanada when you fry it (:

third. using the water [which is that color because our flour-ed hands got in it], wet the outside edges of each empanada so it will close easier.

fourth. fold the empanada dough over the filling and press it down. then go back and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork so they are super tight sealed shut!

that way you won't have burninated cheese pieces hanging out of your empanada!

four. have a photoshoot with your super-hot chilean mama, modeling the right way to cook - the chilean way (;

five. get a big pot [seen above!] and fill it with like two-inches of canola/vegetable oil for frying. then once it gets mega hot, turn down the heat a bit so you don't fry yourself and then [carefully!] set 1-3 empanadas in the 'fryer' and let them cook about 1-3 minutes on each side - until they are lightly golden brown.

note: it is perfectly normal for them to bubble up like little monsters and make you think they are going to explode in your face. i promise they won't. at least none of mine did. that's just what happens! especially when you use cheese that doesn't expand... whoops. block cheese next time for sure!

six: place the cooked empanadas into a bowl/on a plate covered with paper towels, so it can soak up the remaining oil and make it slightly healthier (; you can bake empanadas, too, but they just taste better this way, in my opinion!

serve warm, and enjoy! they are perfect for a main dish [like with our family...main food groups = bread and cheese, so this of course was dinner] or even just for a snack the next day! just put them in the fridge [in a ziplock bag] overnight and you can pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and enjoy them warm!

ps if you make good enough empanadas, it will drive all of your admiring cooking fans to follow in your footsteps immediately...

only three more years until this guy is a server at bob evans, right? (;


  1. hah just like pizza rolls ( :

  2. i think this is awesome:)
    you have me inspired!


    just saying :) GREAT JOB!!!


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