Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kulinarya Cooking Club: Filipino Beef Empanadas

When it rains, it pours.  And it blows down trees and knocks out power.

I was negligent on the blog anyway, because real life got in the way.  Work heated up, I overextended myself on volunteer activities, I started purging the house as we started thinking about putting it on the market, and we left town to go to Las Vegas for 6 days for my husband's business.  A doozy of a storm blew me even farther off course, as 6 days without power set me further adrift. Even though the streets are passable now and the lights have been on for one week, I'm still trying to get back on track. 

With that said, here is my belated posting for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club selection of empanadas.  To find out more about the club and who's in it, go to the bottom of this post.

I'm presenting very traditional Filipino beef , potato, and raisin empanadas.  I have fond memories of sitting around the kitchen table making these little meat-filled pastries with my aunts and grandmas.  To me, empanadas are party food, as that's when my stressed mother marshalled us to make empanadas, along with lumpiang shanghai and all the other-time consuming Filipino party food favorites.

In fact, my love of cooking was developed in these mass cooking extravaganzas, as three generations of women sat together, reaching to the communal filling bowl to take spoonfuls of filling and mound them on dough rounds.  To the steady rhythm of Tagalog interspersed with English, brown fingers would deftly pinch the pastry ends together, and soon enough there would be dozens of empanadas ready for the fryer.

I would struggle through the first ones, and then satisfaction would slowly spread up my fingers, through my young arms and straight to my heart, as my misshapen empanadas gave way to perfect half moons. 

Crispy, juicy, and made with love, empanadas are sure to make you, your family, and friends happy and whole.

Cook's Notes:

1) 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.

2) I used a 3-inch round cutter, so they were appetizer size -- empanaditas. Use 4- or 5-inch cutters to make regular size empanadas.

3) If you're not frying the empanadas, make sure your filling is a little juicy as the filling will dry out in the oven.  You can use a little cornstarch mixed with water to bind up the sauce, so the filling is juicy but not runny.

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
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.

About Kulinarya Cooking Club:

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies (Kath, Trisha and Trissa) living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Here are the members of the Kulinarya Cooking Club!

Kath - A Cupcake or Two
Trisha - Sugarlace
Trissa - Trissalicious
Olive - Latest Recipes
Caroline - When Adobo Met Feijoada
Ninette – Big Bold Beautiful Food
Peach- The Peach Kitchen
Cusinera- Busog Sarap
Asha – Fork-Spoon-Knife
Malou - Skip to Malou
Cherrie – Sweet Cherrie Pie
Acdee - Confession Nook
Valerie – A Canadian Foodie
Bel – Food Geeks Diary
Sheryl - Crispy Waffle


Trissa said...

Ninette - I truly thank you for joining Kulinarya. You are one of the bloggers I really admire and am so glad that you'll be around to help us promote Filipino food on the web! These empanadas look yummy even if it pre made dough!

Aggie said...

I would love to make my own empanadas! Yours look delicious and the filling sounds so good. I've never had Filipino empanadas...only cuban ones.

La Table De Nana said...

I hope things go better for you..How nice of you to take the time to post regardless..

6 days w/out power:( We were once a very long time in freezing winter w/o..I thanked God I was married to Davy Crockett.

Christine said...

Mukhang masarap. I love empanadas!!! i love vigan empanada. and this looks delicious too!

Federica said...

mmmmmmm..che buoni!

Table Talk said...

It's understandable why your post is a bit tardy, gheesh! What a trooper you have been!
Great tip on making empanadas with a little short cut from Pillsbury.
I agree, empanadas are terrific party food!

Table Talk said...

It's understandable why your post is a bit tardy, gheesh! What a trooper you have been!
Great tip on making empanadas with a little short cut from Pillsbury.
I agree, empanadas are terrific party food!

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Trisha said...

Great idea re juicier filling when baking! Yes you were right - I found the filling quiet dry on mine because I baked it. Thanks once again for joining KCC and for a great debut dish! :)

cusinera said...

wow....6 days without electricity, i'll go insane=) that's a good tip about the baking version of empanada to have a juicy filling, haven't tried baking them yet=)

Caroline said...

beautiful, your empanadas are worth waiting for, with all the things happening in your household and all. Thanks for the tips, too! Hope things get back to normal soon. :)

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Your empanadas are beautiful!

LoveFeast Table said...

Your recipes looks delish. I just shared a link to your recipe on my post today! Hope you can come by and check out our story on empanadas.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying out your recipe today. I do love your blog. It's only the recipes you are sharing, but i love the side stories. You are awesome!

Ninette said...

Thank you, anon. That's very sweet of you to say.