Thursday, August 6, 2009

--Empanadas! A Taste of South America--

One of my favorite things in the world are empanadas. Growing up in Colombia, I ate these all the time. There are different varieties across each region; all fairly unique but in essence you are talking about some sort of meat/potato/vegetable filling wrapped in a pressed corn dough that's rolled into a flat disk and then fried.

Here is my version of an empanada (I had to make some adjustments based on what is available at local stores).

These are great as an appetizer.

1 package of Goya brand white corn disks (found in the ethnic frozen food section)
1 pound of ground beef
2 potatoes, boiled and diced
1 spanish onion
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon cumin
bay leaves
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 package of chorizo

In a large saucepan, add onions and garlic until slightly browned. Add chorizo, ground beef, cumin and bay leaves; mix with the onion blend until the meat is mostly cooked through. Add tomatoes. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Add cooked and diced potatoes after 10 minutes and let sit . Allow the ground beef mix to cool before making empanadas.

Lay the Goya disks on a floured surface. Put filling in the middle and join the edges. Press with a fork to seal the empanadas.

Fry them in a large pan until the edges are slightly browned. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with cilantro.

For a healthier option, you can bake the empanadas in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

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