Many months ago, there was an event for the “young” couples in our community. And while we aren’t really all that young anymore, the hosts of the event were serving kosher tamales and empanadas so I decided it was OK to stretch the truth (or shorten it a bit in my case) about my age … especially when tamales were involved.
As a somewhat newbie to the Kosher-keeping ways, I’ll admit to having some unbelievably amazing tamales in my previous life – made with lard and pork and who knows what else and quite frankly, I miss ‘em. I was delighted by the opportunity to partake in this yummy treat once again, minus the lard and pork part.
So the hubbie and I headed to the party and I didn’t waste any time filling my plate with tamales and … empanadas, which I’d never even heard of before that night. All in all, I ate way more than I should have but the kicker was that the empanadas quickly surpassed the tamales as my new favorite food. To heck with those tamales, which by the way, didn’t taste as good without the lard and pork anyway, and Hello to my new empanada friend.
A few weeks after the party, I was invited to a friend’s house for an empanada-making party. She had participated in making the empanadas for the original party and was anxious to try them again … and so was I. I apologize because I’m not sure if this recipe came from the host of the original party or where but either way, thank you to which ever wonderful chef introduced me to these yummy treats. My life would not be complete without them : )
I have to warn you though that making these bad boys is not for the weak or faint of heart. It takes a lot of time, effort, some strong dough-making hands, and a bit of bad language now and again, but the result is worth the blood, sweat and tears. Bring on the empanadas:
Beefy Kosher Empanadas
Ingredients – Dough:
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 Tsp salt
- 2 Tsp sugar
- ¼ Tsp dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- ½ pound margarine at room temperature
Directions – Dough:
Pour the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the salt, sugar, yeast and most of the warm water (I have no idea why the recipe says “most” here so I just added all of the water) and mix lightly. Stir in the softened margarine and use a fork to push the flour in from all sides and mix until a soft dough forms. Dust with flour and set aside. (I gave up on the fork and just used my (very clean) hands to mix and mash the dough).
Ingredients – Filling:
- Vegetable oil for sautéing
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 Tsp kosher salt
- ½ Tsp pepper
- 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tsp cumin seed
- 1 Tsp dried oregano
- ½ fresh aji pepper, chopped (I’m told this can only be found in Peruvian markets. I left it out)
- 2 Tbsp raisins or currants (I used raisins)
- 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives, chopped (Costco seems to be the only store in Dallas that sells kosher ones)
Directions – Filling:
Sauté onions and garlic in oil until translucent. Add beef, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and sauté until beef is cooked. Add aji pepper, raisins, eggs, and olives and mix until combined. Let the mixture cool. (I ended up adding more salt, pepper and garlic powder because the beef tasted a bit bland – maybe it was the lack of aji pepper – so be sure to taste-test for yourself and add more of the above if needed).
To make the empanadas:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil cookie sheets. Pinch off a fistful of dough and roll it out flat, cut with a glass and roll out a little more. Fill each round with about 1 ½ – 2 Tablespoon of filling and pinch closed and place on cookie sheet. Brush the pies with beaten egg. (I also used scissors to snip three “air holes” in the top of each pie) and cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until light brown. Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm with a lime wedge. (I squeeze the lime juice on the empanadas first and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. I love them that way but the hubbie prefers them plain.
Since this recipe does take a bit of time, I cooked the meat filling on one day and made the dough/empanadas the next day to spread out the work. I also ran out of dough way before meat so I’m planning to make another round of dough this week to finish off the empanadas. However, I might use my favorite Easy Peezy (pareve) Pizza bread machine dough recipe instead. I’ve used that recipe from Food.com for several things (pizza, cows in a blanket, calzone, etc.) and it always turns out great.
Enjoy and Happy Kosher
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