I’ve been bugging my friend for awhile to teach me how to make her famous empanadas (or pastelitos, whichever). She is Ecuadorian and therefore knows what she’s doing. Unfortunately this weekend our plans fell through, but another always adventurous friend, my sister, my husband and I decided to forge ahead anyway and try our hand at it. The results were delicious, and we had a lot of fun muddling through!
One thing we learned is that we need to seal them a little better (and be careful not to let the filling split out the back…oops). This made for splattery oil that threatened to disfigure my sister, and the emapanadas weren’t quite as pretty. But they were still just as delicious, I probably ate the weight of my unborn child in them. Thank goodness for stretchy maternity pants.
We made three kinds – beef, potato, and some little mini guava ones for dessert. ¡Deliciosos!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup masa harina
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cups water
Mix dry ingredients, stir in butter, and add water to form a dough. Combine well, roll into a ball, and wrap with plastic to refrigerate for one hour.
Divide into 4-8 sections (however much your counter space will allow), and roll as thin as possible. Use a cookie cutter to cut into circles (various sizes, Mariela makes hers big, ours were medium with little bitty baby ones for dessert), and they are ready for filling.
This dough can be baked or fried. We fried – decadent Saturday night! We stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes, then fried them in an inch of oil on medium heat for a few minutes on each side until deep golden brown before removing to paper-towel lined plates.
Suggested Empanada Fillings
We took my friend’s authentic recipe as a base and kind of ran with it. So no guarantees on authenticity, but the fillings turned out really really yummy:
Beef and Pea
Ground beef, sauteed garlic and onions, peas, tomato paste, olives, raisins, boiled egg, lemon, cumin, paprika, salt & pepper, ranchero sauce.
Potato and Corn
Boiled potatoes, sauteed garlic and onions, corn, cilantro, olives, boiled egg, lime, sazón, ranchero sauce.
Guava and Cream Cheese
Cream cheese and guava paste.
Feel free to get creative; if the filling is tasty, you really can’t go wrong!
To accompany our empanadas I made a lovely quinoa and beet salad, which turned out the obscene magenta color I love and left me with leftovers for work lunches this week. Apologies for no exact measurements, I will probably revisit this one to make a proper recipe.
Quinoa and Beet Salad
Quinoa, roasted beets, and toasted walnuts dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard, tossed with arugula and topped with sliced avocado and pickled shallots.