Today, we’re back to the pocket craze. After making samosas and pierogi, Joe and I were feeling ready to try a new “pocket”. We love that there are so many different ethnic pockets out there, and empanadas are one variety that’s been on my mind for sometime now!
During highschool, I was fortunate enough to have a few very wonderful friends who were Columbian, and who’s mothers made very wonderful Columbian food. One of the foods that stands out in my memory is empanadas. It had been ages since I’d eaten one, and I was very excited to try making them myself! (I’m also hoping that some of my dear friends will read this post and give me some advice on a proper dough recipe!!!)
I did a little web research on empanadas, and quickly discovered that there are very different empanada varieties depending on what country you’re looking at. Many of the recipes I found were for Argentenian empanadas, which called for raisins and hard boiled eggs, things I certainly did not remember being in the empanadas I ate! So I finally found a specifically Columbian empanada recipe and went from there.
I had a bit of trouble with the dough for these lil’ pockets. The original recipe called for cornmeal and water, which made me skeptical, and uh, was certainly not working out. So I added some flour, and it worked, but I’d love a bit more advice on how to make the “proper” dough!
Overall though, delicious, and like all pockets, they freeze great for a very easy, and just as yummy!, leftover dinner. They’d be amazing with fresh salsa. We didn’t get around to making our own salsa, so were stuck with the jarred stuff, but we threw in a bit of cilantro and all was well!
makes about 20
1 cup flour (we used wheat)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups water
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp each: cumin and garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix together cornmeal, flour and spices. Add water and oil and mix to form dough. Knead for about two minutes or until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 20 minutes.
2 c diced white potatoes, boiled & gently mashed
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 c chopped tomato
1/4 c chopped red pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp each: salt, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes
1/2 lb ground meat, from a good source! We used some ground moose from my parents. (If you don’t eat meat, just increase the potatoes a lil’ bit!)
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c chopped green onion
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, then add garlic, tomato, red pepper and spices, cooking for about 5 more minutes. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking up, until no longer pink. Mix in the green onion and cilantro, and then add the potatoes. Mix well and remove from heat.
Take a small portion of dough (about 2 Tbsp), form into a ball and then roll into a very thin circle. You could also just roll out a larger sheet of dough and cut out circles with a large-ish glass. Place about 1 Tbsp of filling in the center, then fold the dough over. Tightly seal edges with a fork. Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet. When very hot, fry the empanadas for about 2 minutes each side, or until browned. Serve with salsa.