You know what you want at 10pm? Heck, do you know what you want at 10am? Empanadas! They're good at almost any time of the day, and that's exactly their appeal. Tasty little pouches. And when those little pouches are filled with soft potato, sweet tomatoes, and a bit of beef, they surely are superbly tasty.
Admittedly, I am a total sucker for self-contained food. Burritos and empanadas are at the top of the list. There are thousands of different ways to make either of those items, but here is my go-to recipe for the latter. It's not too spicy but can be dressed up depending on what you have lying around in your pantry.
Have a pepper or two? Throw them in! Have a bit of leftover squash? Dice it up! Have a well stocked spice cabinet? Toss in a few of your favorites. It's really that simple and although any recipe with a handmade dough sounds daunting, this dough comes together in under three minutes and takes seconds to roll out. In fact, it takes longer to cook the potatoes than anything! Want to give it a shot? Here's my favorite empanada snack recipe.
Beef & Potato Empanadas
For the dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
For the filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large baking potato, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 small white onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, cored and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 small bunch cilantro, minced
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
Note: This dough can be made with or without a food processor. Without one, simply use a box grater to shred the butter and knead the dough for a few minutes.
Using the shredding blade on your food processor, shred 1/2 cup frozen butter. Quickly add in flour and salt and toss with your fingers until butter is coated. Switch blade to your traditional chopping blade and mince ingredients for 5 pulses.
In a small bowl whisk together egg, water, and vinegar and whisk with a fork to combine. Add to food processor and blend just until dough comes together. Remove dough and press into a tight ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add potato, onion, diced pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium high for 10 to 15 minutes or until potato is cooked through but not mushy, and peppers and onions have softened. Add meat, tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro and continue cooking until meat is browned. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Turn off heat and set filling aside.
Heat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough about 1/4-inch thick on a floured surface. Cut out circles of dough 5 inches in diameter (a small bowl works well for this). Fill each circle with 1 tablespoon filling and fold the extra dough over the top. Crimp the edge with a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk together 1 egg and two tablespoons milk. Brush tops of finished empanadas with this mixture. Salt lightly and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly before eating.
More Empanadas: Appetizer Recipe: Empanadas with Corn
(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)