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)
Soy sauce
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.


Art and Appetite said...

Love your presentation! It looks so delish as well.

It's been a while since I've had Filipino Empanada (I'm Filipino as well, but I'm not an empanada, hehe).

I was actually surprised when I found out that in some countries, they fry their empanadas. I actually grew up seeing it being baked all the time.

Ahhh, I sure would love to try this with artificial meat (I just turned vegetarian again).

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Federica said...

che belli!! chissà che buoni!

Anonymous said...

Had filipino empanadas once many years ago while we were in manila. Reading your post brings back memories. Nice pictures!

Trissa said...

Ninette - it looks really good. I do miss eating empanadas - I always thought it would be better to make your own pastry BUT your pastry looks very good and flaky... please let me know how you go with making it less dry as I want to try the recipe too!

La Table De Nana said...

Our dear Chilean friends introduced us to empanadas..We thoroughly enjoy them..I am certain yours were delish..Good little finger food..

Ninette said...

Hi Everyone, thanks so much for your comments. I'm not satisfied. I am feeling compelled to do a double experiment tonight, since I have leftover filling. I'm going to have to fry and bake some and see where I come out. I can't let it go!

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Neel | Learn Food Photography said...

Wonderful photos, reminds me of some sweet snack we have that my mother makes. Awesome and Thanks!

zurin said...

Gosh these look good.Now I feel like making Malaysian curry puffs :))

Broiled Hibiscus said...

hehe.. i dont think these are filipino empanadas at all because you added cumin, paprika and tomato sauce. they sound more like South American/puerto rican style. anywho, i am making some later on hence i came across yours! will include carrots, green peas, soy sauce. great photo by the way (thumbs up) keep it up!