A meal in your hand!
My first experience with an empanada was in Houston, Texas at a food festival. A man in one of the booths served me one. We started talking and it turns out he has a local TV show on Saturday afternoons, targeting Latin American culture. When he found out I was teaching English as a Second Language to many Latin American children, he asked me to come on his TV show! That empanada made me an instant TV star!
A few decades later (and no empanada eating), we moved to Uruguay - home of many empanadas! I now make them all the time - either from scratch or from the ready-made dough readily available in Uruguay.
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup masa corn flour (masa harina)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c melted butter
1 c water or less to consistency
1 large egg plus 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)
cooked steak or chicken, chopped
cooked ground beef or turkey
potatoes, cooked and cubed small
carrots, cubed and cooked
onion, chopped and cooked
garlic, minced and cooked
- In a large bowl, sift together: flour, corn flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Melt butter and stir into the flour mixture.
- Slowly add 1/2 cup of water, blending it with your hands to mix. If it is sticky, add more water until it's easy to handle and doesn't stick to your hands.
- Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
- Make your filling ahead of time or right now. See Empanada Filling Recipes. Then cool the filling a bit. This is necessary so the hot filling doesn't make the dough wrapper "melt" open in places.
- When you're ready to fill the empanada dough, remove it from the fridge. Take a bit of the dough and roll it in your hand to form a 2- inch diameter ball.
- Place the dough ball on a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper. With a spatula, press the dough ball into a circle about 1/4 thick.
- Place a tablespoonful of the filling (See suggestions above.) in the center of the circle. Fold it in half and close the edges with your fingers.
- Crimp the edges with a fork or pinch with your fingers, so the filling doesn't leak out.
- Place on a greased cookie sheet or one that has been covered with parchment paper.
- Make many more until you run out of dough!
- Mix the egg and water for the egg wash. Brush each empanada with the wash.
- Bake at 350° oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.