Lately my sister-in-law and I have been hanging out more and cooking stuff together. Or watching the other cook stuff in the kitchen. I decided we should try and make empanadas, and try we did.

To quote Dane cook – Empanadas, you were being kind of a bitch.

Empanada pros, I could really use a good idiot-proof dough recipe.

I think it’s more my awful ability to handle/make pastry dough that is the problem here. The empanada pastry dough was very stiff (you really do need to crimp the edges with a fork to get them to close. Pinching did absolutely nothing), yet also delicate and thus hard for us to work with.

We spent some time making frijoles refritos as our filling (plus cheese). This was the easy part. Albany John par cooked some black beans in the microwave using his kitchen chicanery. Then I let them simmer in just enough water to cover them, plus a diced up onion and some salt until insanely tender and mushy. Then pan fry some onion and garlic in bacon fat, add some of your beans and mash like hell. Keep adding until all beans are mashed. Ta da. Done. Beans. Success.

Here is the ball of dough. It was 3 C flour, 1.5 sticks butter, 5 T water, and one egg. And some salt. Should be a tasty dough. Actually, it was quite tasty. Just hard to work with.

Rolled out, and pushed through with a small bowl. Right after this was where we started running in to problems. It took us about a half an hour to shape and make 5 empanadas. After making three we were about ready to give up. Le sigh. The dough would not stick to itself at all, and it had absolutely no give. Oh, duh, Albany Jane, since it’s essentially pastry dough = weaksauce. Re-rolling the scraps together was also difficult, since they refused to reform into another solid mass and maintained their cut out piecemeal shapes. It was kind of like rolling out loosely sticking puzzle pieces.

However, the dough was very tasty baked on its own.

Here they are, ready to go into the oven. My brother, his roomie, and Albany John were sitting in the living room doing… non-cooking stuff. That’s really all we know. And Albany John was terribly sad that no matter what I cook, it always takes me at least 2-3 hours (really wish I were kidding about that one) with no ETA of when food will be ready.

So around 9 pm we settled in to dinner. My sister in law and brother also worked together and made some plantains. Just pan-fried in olive oil, she said this was a dish she always grew up eating. At her grandma’s this was a staple side dish. OMG – so good. Perfectly browned and crisp on the outsides, and fluffy light on the insides.
Here is everything. An empanada atop rice, refried black beans, colby-jack cheese, and a side of golden plantains. The boys all said the empanadas were delicious, and I have to agree – it was quite yummy, but wow were they a lot of work. My sister in law and I aren’t quite sure if we want to attempt these again, but the boys strongly encouraged us to do so.

  1. awwww no beef? i heart empanadas. i thinks i might have to steal this to make for the boyfriend

  2. i made empanadas last week! but i cheated and used refrigerated pie crust. i also have a really neat tool from pampered chef that cuts dough in a circle and then when you're ready, you can put it where you want it crimped and it will do that, in a circle or semi-circle. it's called the “cut-n-seal” and is also great for making peanut butter and jelly pockets!

  3. phairhead – sadly I hadn't taken any out of the freezer. Beef would be better!

    Sis! – omg, yes! Pie crust next time for sure.

  4. Amy said:

    Goya sells excellent frozen empanada wrapper disks. Both the Price Chopper and Hannaford on Central have them. They make empanada making so much easier.

  5. Zonoma said:

    Mmm! Empanadas! XD My favorite are cheese and seasoned chicken.

    P.S. I might have to steal you from Albany John to make me some!

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