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Not to long ago I went out with some friends to celebrate my birthday and we went to a great tapas restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, VA called La Tasca. They have great sangria, good food and some BOMB empanadas.

Ever since I went there and enjoyed some fried beef empanadas, that’s all I’ve been craving for the last couple weeks.

So I made some. Instead of frying them…I baked them…and they were tasty…not La Tasca tasty…but good enough to make again.

The only thing I didn’t do was take enough step by step pictures. So I apologize…but they are so easy to make and you can add pretty much whatever you want to these things.

…and yes you can fry them…if you are not concerned about your waistline (frying instructions are at the bottom).

Baked Beef Empanadas
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes about 12

3/4-1 pound of ground beef chuck
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste or use some season salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives (optional)
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed

1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 400’F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat silicone mat.

Over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet , stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the olives, cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir for a few minutes until well combined. Turn off heat and set aside.

Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then take out an empanada disk one at a time,  lay it on the plastic wrap. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork and place on baking sheet. Repeat the same method until you have no more empanda disks.

Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes.

If you want to fry them….

Preheat oven toe 200’F degrees.

Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.

Enjoy!

 

 

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