Empanadas con chorizo y papas

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
2 cups Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar (optional, use only for making dessert empanadas)
2 teaspoons Baking powder
½ teaspoon Salt
⅓ cup Shortening
⅓ cup Ice water
1 pounds Mexican-style chorizo
2 mediums Sized potatoes, cooked, peeled, and diced
½ medium Sized onion, chopped
1 \N Jalapeno chile, finely diced
1 \N Pablano chile, chopped
1 small Firm tomato (roma works nice), chopped
\N \N Vegetable oil as needed

THE PASTRY

CHORIZO Y PAPAS

With all the discussion of Cornish Pasties (pastry folded over a somewhat bland filling of meat, potatoes, turnip and onion, then baked) and all the various Northeastern U.S. versions thereof, I was kinda surprised there was no mention of empanadas, the Hispanic version of the pasty. Unlike the traditional Cornish pasty, the range of size and fillings used for empanadas allows for a lot of experimentation. Size can range from small dessert turnovers (empanaditas) filled with fruit, sweet potato, or pumpkin spiced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, etc.) to large meat pies (empanada gallega) big enough to feed a family. Seafood, poultry, beef, pork, rice, beans, potatoes, vegetables, and even leftovers from previous meals are all acceptable fillings for empanadas.

Picadillo is another traditional filling for empanadas. The ingredients generally include ground beef or pork, onions, tomatoes, apples, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, salt and pepper. My version of picadillo usually goes easy on the apples, raisins, cloves and cinnamon...and, I add roasted pine nuts, chopped fresh chiles, Mexican oregano, chile powder and crushed dried red chile.

"Authentic Mexican" by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless includes a recipe for a Mexican empanada using flour tortilla dough formed into flat circles, filled with picadillo, folded over and sealed, then deep fried.

Empanada Gallega (of Spanish origin, I think) is made with a bread dough that's allowed to rise, punched down and allowed to rise again, and then divided and rolled into two circles about a quarter inch thick -- kinda like for making pizza. The filling is spread over one circle of dough, covered with the other circle of dough, sealed around the edge, allowed a short rest in a warm place to rise a bit, brushed with beaten egg, and then baked until golden.

The empanadas I make are generally a little smaller than a Cornish pasty with spicier fillings including (not all at the same time of course) beef, pork, poultry, sausage, crab, shrimp, scallops, beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, fresh chiles, whatever...and the appropriate spices to compliment my choice of ingredients. One of my favorites is empanadas made with a filling of Mexican-style chorizo and potatoes...

Pastry: Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in the shortening. Add enough ice water to hold the dough together. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to about one eighth inch thickness. Cut the dough into 6 inch circles (3 inch for dessert empanadas).

Chorizo y Papas: Peel the chorizo and crumble it into a skillet. Saute for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't burn it, add a little vegetable oil if the chorizo is on the lean side (not usually a problem with store bought chorizo). Add the onion and chiles and saute for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add chopped tomato and saute about 5 minutes more, stirring as needed to keep from burning. Add potatoes and heat through. Cool and use to fill the previously prepared pastry.

Making the Empanadas: Spoon filling on one half of each circle of pastry, leaving the edge of the pastry without filling. Moisten the edge with water, fold the unfilled half of the circle over the filled half, press the edges together and flute with the tines of a dinner fork to seal. Brush with melted butter or beaten egg. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees fahrenheit until golden (usually 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size). Sprinkle with chile powder or crushed dried red chile as they come out of the oven.

Posted to CHILE-HEADS DIGEST V3 #210, by Rich McCormack <macknet@...> on Mon, 13 Jan 1997.

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