I love empanadas. Love them. LOVE.THEM.
It must be a latina/Hispanic thing. I had a choice to have mini empanadas as an hor derve at my wedding but then I saw the beef wellingtons and fell in love. We decided ceviche would be a good way to incorporate Puerto Rico into the food.
Every time I think of empanadas, I think of Puerto Rico. They are everywhere in Puerto Rico. And come with a plethora of different filling. In Fajardo, there’s a little outdoor marketplace off the freeway next to a beach. Along this strip of outdoor shops, there’s food everywhere. All selling the same thing: Empanadas. On the way to El Yunque or coming back from El Yunque, we would stop at Fajardo, get some empanadas and walk around on the beach.
Doing this has always been my favorite part of the trip.
The only time I got empanadas were in Puerto Rico. However, there’s a Puerto Rican grocery store and guess what is near it, a little Puerto Rican café. It’s where I will get coffee at 3PM on a sweltering June day like it’s nothing. And what are they always selling: Empanadas. They taste just like Puerto Rico. They are big and a meal within itself – about half the size of a large plate. I love them.
Then I realized, I could make them myself.
When I told Mumika I was going to make empanadas, she was surprised.
“You’re going to make empanadas…from scratch?”
“Well, if I can’t find the Goya discos, I’ll have to.”
“I’ve never made empanadas.”
“You’ve never made empanadas?!?!?”
“What kind of Puerto Rican are you? I’m white and I’m more Puerto Rican than you are!”
“I’m an Americanized one.”
I set out looking for Goya discos. These discos are essentially frozen empanada dough that is already rolled out to the proper size. This way all you have to do is put the meat filling in, fold, and fry. But I’m in Central Texas and didn’t feel like driving 30 minutes to the Puerto Rican grocery store. I swear, they need more Goya products up here. Drives me crazy.
After some research, I found a recipe with ingredients I already had. It seemed tedious and frustrating, but I want empanadas. And I’ll be damned if a stupid recipe and a lack of product because supply and demand is low for Goya products in the country is going to stop me.
I did have to buy a rolling pin though. But I was going to need one sooner or later anyway and didn’t feel like going to the inlaws to borrow one of there’s.
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoon butter, cold
1 egg – well beaten
3/4 cup cold water
Oil for frying.
Mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
Cut butter into the flour mixture.
Mix egg and water well.
Add liquid mixture to flour and mix well using a fork.
Divide the dough into 15 pieces.
Work each piece at a time with a rolling pin until it is the size of a small plate.
Add about a tablespoon of stuffing in the middle, fold in half.
Secure edges by pressing with a fork.
Make sure to use plenty of oil to fry them in so that they expand. Fry in batches.
Place on paper towels to absorb extra oil.
Makes 15. PER EMPANADA. Calories: 277, Carbohydrates: 21 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 9 grams.
I’m on the beach, the air blowing through my hair, the sand in between my toes, Reggaeton playing in the background.
This tastes just like Puerto Rico. I feel like I’m in Puerto Rico.
I did roll the dough out a little thick, so next time I’ll roll it out thinner. But in my defense, I don’t have countertops and ended up rolling the dough on the floor using a plastic lid for a mixing bowl as a board. Sometimes you just have to work with what you got.
At first I wasn’t so sure about the dough but it came together quite quickly. It’s flaky. It’s perfect and compliments the filling. I’m actually happy that I took the time to figure out how to make this homemade. I can make these for parties as a side, or in mini form as an appetizer.
Just don’t burn the empanada while frying it. The first batch was a little too brown. A nice golden brown makes the empanadas taste better.
And what’s great is that if you make too many, you can always freeze them before frying.