Sunday, November 15, 2009
Filipino Beef Empanadas
I had a leftover baked potato that was sitting in the fridge. What to do?
I'm sure others may have thought of home fries or potato skins, but I thought of Filipino beef empanadas. These turnovers are encased in a flaky pastry dough and filled with a simple filling of beef, potatoes, and raisins. They are normally deep-fried, but they can be baked as well.
I didn't have time to make empanada dough, so I bought pre-made pie dough at the grocery store. It's not perfect, but it's certainly convenient. [Note: go here for a great empanada dough recipe.]
I also decided to bake the empanadas, and I learned something. My recipe below is delicious for frying, but I found the baked version a little dry. Next time around, I will add a little beef broth and a cornstarch slurry to the beef mixture, so the meat is a little juicy but not runny. Juicy is not good for hot oil, but would be favorable in the drying heat of the oven.
Considering that all the empanadas disappeared in a matter of minutes, I suppose I they were still tasty. But, next time, a moist and flavorful filling will be my goal.
I used a 3-inch round cutter, so they were appetizer size -- empanaditas. Use 4- or 5-inch cutters to make regular size empanadas.
Filipino Beef Empanadas
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium potato, diced (I had a cooked potato, but you can use a raw one too.)
2 scallions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Tomato paste or sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper
2 boxes Pillsbury pie dough (or make your own empanada dough)
3-4 inch round cutters
1 egg, beaten (this is your egg wash)
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a little oil (about 1 tbs. or more) when hot. Add potato and season with paprika, cumin (just a little cumin as this is not a typical Filipino seasoning), kosher salt and pepper. When lightly browned, set aside. (If your potato is uncooked, add to the skillet and add a little beef broth or water and cook until tender.)
Add a little more oil and a little butter (1 tsp. each) to the skillet and turn heat down to medium. Add garlic and scallion and saute for a few turns of your spoon. Add ground beef and saute until browned. Sprinkle beef with paprika, soy sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. If you have some tomato sauce or tomato paste, add a spoonful to taste.
Add raisins to your liking and potatoes, and let cook with beef mixture for a couple minutes.
Now taste. Your filling should more intensely flavored than if you were going to eat it alone. Remember that the flavor has to come through with all the pie dough.
If you're going to fry your empanadas, put mixture in a strainer over a bowl and let cool. Don't throw away the strained liquid, because if you want your mixture to be wetter, you can add some the liquid back. If you're going to bake the empanadas, you may not want to strain it at all but keep it juicy.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unroll the pie pastry and roll a little thinner with a rolling pin to your liking. Cut out rounds (I got 12 rounds out of one pie crust). Fill each empanada with a teaspoon of filling, making sure you have some beef, potatoes, and raisins in the empanada. Encase filling with dough by folding over the dough over the filling and pressing the dough closed at the edges. Take a fork tine and press down along to the edges to seal. Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with 2nd pie dough sheet.
Brush empanada tops with egg wash. Take a wooden skewer and poke a couple air holes in the tops of the empanadas.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy.