Beef Empanadas for Cinco de Mayo:
Recipe after the cut
Made based on this recipe
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour (and a handful more for rolling)
1/3 cup finely shredded 4 cheese Mexican blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, beaten
For the filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup drained diced tomates
half pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup finely shredded 4 cheese Mexican blend
1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cheese, salt, and baking powder until well mixed. Add the lard and, with your fingers, work the mixture until the shortening is well distributed and no pieces remain.
2. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the warm milk. Stir until the mixture forms a ball. You will need to add additional flour if the mixture is too sticky. Cover and allow to rest while you prepare the filling.
3. In a skillet over medium heat add the oil. Once it begins to shimmer add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.
4. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until it browns. Add the drained tomatoes, salt, cumin, coriander, and corn starch and cook for one minute before removing the pan from the heat. Allow to cool for five minutes before adding the shredded cheese.
5. Heat the oven to 375 F and prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper.
6. Divide the dough into four pieces, and on a floured surface roll it out until it is very thin (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut out 3″ circles of dough.
7. Brush the top edge of the dough with egg wash then add a teaspoon of the meat filling. Fold the dough over and press to seal.
8. Repeat until you have filled the pans. Brush the tops with egg wash then bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.
They may not have turned out especially photogenic, but these empanadas were delicious. The dough circles were a bit too small, which let to some of them re-opening during baking, but they were perfectly bite size and a great dish to set out at parties. They weren’t even crumby or greasy, you just popped them in your mouth an moved on! As a dipping sauce I mixed a medium strength red and medium strength green pepper hot sauce together and it really accentuated the flavors well. Now I used half a pound of beef instead of the 4 oz. called for in the original recipe, which left me with a ton of leftovers, but it didn’t seem to overwhelm the flavors of the spices and other fillings at all.