Sep 5, 2011

Make Ahead Monday-Empanadas

My mom and I discovered these a few years ago when we needed to make a quick to warm up and easy to grab meal for my brother and dad to have on the farm during the harvest season.  These are a bit time consuming to make (especially if you are going to make enough to have in the freezer) but they are so simple to warm up and can almost be a meal on their own (depending on what you put inside).  You may not make them anything like the traditional Mexican way but that is the great thing about them-you can make them to suit your family or kids.

3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk

1 egg to make an egg wash

I use ground beef mixed with tomatoes and beans (which is the same thing I use for tacos).  You could do a chicken mixture, just beef, beef and cheese or veggies.  One note about cheese:  I actually stopped putting cheese inside these because most of it just oozed out while baking.  These turned out much better cheeseless.  These don't have to be Mexican at all-you could make them more like a pizza pocket if you wanted too.

Stir together flour and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal.  Add beaten egg and milk.  Stir until well combined.  Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 10-12 times.  Break off balls of dough (the size depends on how big you want the empanadas.  If you want mini ones use a doughnut hole sized piece, if you want a pizza pocket sized one then break off a piece the size of a large egg).  Roll the dough into a flat circle piece.  It should be very thin.  Place a spoonful of filling on the dough closer to one side (don't overfill or you will have a mess).  Brush all the edges with the egg wash.  Fold the dough in half to form a pocket.  Press edge with a fork and cut off excess dough.   Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Poke 3 or 4 holes in the top of the pocket.  Brush the whole thing with an egg wash.  Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes.  Cool completely before placing in bags to freeze.  This recipe makes about 14 but that depends on the size.  I usually make mine larger than a store bought pizza pocket.
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