Every now and then I get somewhat nostalgic and start to reminisce about foods that I used to have when I was young. This past weekend was one of those times. It did help that I had all the ingredients to indulge in this latest craving. Now, I realize there are a lot of people (especially Latinos) that have their own version and different ingredients of what goes into the “empanada” and I’m not here to tell you to replace your version, just offering an alternative, if you’re so inclined, to experiment with another version. You only have to go here for more information on the various types of empanadas there are throughout Latin America and other places. I’m starting this recipe with the filling that I use and that most Puerto Ricans use, called picadillo. The reason I’m starting with the picadillo recipe is because I will be posting several recipes later on which will call for it. It is a staple for many dishes done by Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Cubans as well.
I’m also sharing the recipe for the dough that I find works best for me and my family. This dough is light and flaky and easy to work with, but if you have one that you feel will work best for you, by all means use it!
If you don’t feel like making your own dough, Goya also sells “dough disks” that will work but to me nothing brings me more satisfaction as me doing it myself, just sayin 🙂 The dough is filled with the picadillo or whatever you prefer. Some have used chicken, seafood, pork or you can change it up and fill them with cheese (which is how my son, Evan, prefers them). Growing up, me and my sisters and brother had the cheese kind in the mornings with coffee (yes, you read right…coffee was given to us “young’uns” and I survived to write about it!). This recipe brings me the most comfort when I want to go back in time. Try it, I think you will agree that they are absolutely the perfect appetizer (or snack, lunch, etc.) you can have.
The final result…delicious Empanadas de Carne!
|Beef Empanadas (Puerto Rican Style)|
|BEEF FILLING (PICADILLO)
DOUGH FOR EMPANADAS
NOTE: Doing the achioté oil is TOTALLY optional but I add this oil to my dough (see picture above). It imparts color to the dough and makes it pretty (I’m into pretty, sorry) but you can just skip this part if you’re fine with the color of the dough (make it YOUR OWN). I’m just obsessed when it comes to things like this.
ACHIOTÉ OIL (for those interested) is made by doing the following:
1. Place the oil and achioté seeds in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until you see it begin to bubble (PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS).
2. Remove from the heat as soon as you see lots of little bubbles forming around the saucepan.
3. Allow oil to cool then strain and discard the seeds.
WARNING: If you let it boil too much past the somewhat dark orange color stage, the seeds will burn and turn green. This is NOT a good thing and this oil will no longer work for this or any recipe. You can save the oil in a cool, dark place and the oil will keep well for 1 to 2 months.