Chilean Empanadas

Chilean Empanadas
(Recipe from my Chilean Mama :)

Makes about 12 average-sized empanadas

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]
egg white
1 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp shortening
1 block of cheese, or any other filling.

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 and cook the empanadas.


Part One:
1. Get two bowls, a small and a medium one. 
2. In the small one, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together with a fork. 
3. 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. 
4. 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]. 
5. 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.
6. 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!].

Part Two:
1. 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! They should be super-duper thin! Almost paper-like. Just basically as thin as you can get them without them tearing apart (: For a good-sized empanada, make sure it fits your hand. 
2. Once you have all of your dough rolled out and cut up to the size you'd like, then you place your filling on one side of the dough [so you have enough room to fold it over].
3. Using the water, wet the outside edges of each empanada so it will close easier.
4. 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!
5. Get a big pot 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!
6. Place the cooked empanadas into a bowl/on a plate covered with paper towels, so they can soak up the remaining oil and make it slightly healthier.
7. 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!

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