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Dough for Empanadas (Puerto Rico)
Makes 12 3-inch empanaditas or 4 6-inch empanadas

1/2 cup masa harina (fine cornmeal flour)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for rolling out the dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric or achiote oil
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Filling (below)
Vegetable oil for frying

Measure the masa harina into a bowl and pour the boiling water over
it, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Let cool.

When cool, sift in the flour, salt, and turmeric. (If using achiote
oil and not ground turmeric, wait until the end of step 2 to add
the oil.) Mix well into the masa harina. Add half the beaten egg.
When the egg has been incorporated, add the melted butter and
achiote oil.

Knead briefly to blend the dough. Roll out between sheets of
floured wax paper to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using a glass or
cookie cutter, cut into 3-inch circles. Place the filling in the
center of each circle. Brush the remaining beaten egg around the
edges of the circles. Fold the circles in half over the filling
and firmly press the edges together. Brush the top of the joining
edge with the beaten egg, fold the edges over, and press down to
seal. Flute the edges.

Fry in deep oil heated to 370 degrees until they are golden brown.
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them in a hot
oven on paper towels to drain. Keep in a hot oven until all the
empanadas have been fried, then serve. They can be made earlier
in the day and reheated in the oven just before serving.

Note: If baking the empanadas in the oven instead of deep frying,
place them on a buttered 11 x 17-inch baking pan. Brush the tops
completely with the beaten egg and bake in a preheated 375-degree
oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Filling for Empanadas

1/2 pound finely chopped or processed beef, lamb, mutton, or pork
2 tablespoons achiote oil or margarine
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, through the press
1 tablespoon thinly sliced celery
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
1 tomato, peeled and chopped, or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chili pepper to taste
1 cup water

Fry the meat in the oil, stirring until lightly browned. Add all
the other ingredients to the pan. Stir thoroughly and simmer on
very low heat, covered, for at least 40 minutes, adding more water
if needed. Reduce the sauce so that the mix is soft but not runny,
being careful not to burn the ingredients. Remove the pan from the
heat and follow the directions above for filling empanadas.

NOTE: The filling can be made in advance, placed in a bowl in the
refrigerator, and reheated with a little water when needed.


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