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Pork Picadillo Empanadas are a perfect dish to take to a pot luck or on a picnic. Bite sized flavor filled packets of spicy pork tucked inside a flavorful tender turnover; empanadas are easy to make and very portable.
While many consider empanadas to be Latin, they are actually made all over the world, with a variety of fillings and doughs. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. The filling can be made from most anything, but most common are ground pork and ground beef. In this recipe feel free to change the ground pork to ground beef if you like, or even ground chicken or turkey.
Empanadas are easy to make and very portable
I adapted this recipe for Pork Picadillo Empanadas from Bon Appetit’s Outdoor Entertaining cookbook. I like the dough in Bon App’s recipe because it was one of the few I found that used Masa Harina (what they use to make corn tortillas and tamales) in it. Most recipes used only flour and I find the addition of the masa really gives the dough a great flavor. The dough comes together very easily and rolls out beautifully. The original recipe called for melted butter, but you know me, if it’s melted butter I will usually substitute olive oil; in this case I did half melted butter and half mild olive oil. You can do one or the other, or both. These empanadas can be made shiny by brushing an egg bath on top before popping them into the oven, we were in a hurry to get them cooked as we were going to a friends to watch the Oscar’s and I just plumb forgot that step…no harm, no foul, they were delish anyway. Just not shiny.
These empanadas are great when served with a chunky salsa, sour cream dip (which is what I did) or even guacamole.
Dip, bite, enjoy
In a large bowl mix together the flour, masa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the melted fat. In a small bowl whisk together 1 of the eggs with 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, add to the flour mixture. Knead in the bowl until a smooth, pliable dough forms, about 2 minutes. Working with half the dough at a time, roll out on a floured surface to 1/8th inch thickness. Use a 3 3/4 inch biscuit cutter to cut dough into rounds. Reroll dough scraps and cut out additional rounds; you should get about a dozen per half of the dough. Continue with the remaining dough.
Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl to blend. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling in the center of each dough round, lightly brush the edges with the egg. Fold over, lift up and gently press the dough together over the filling. Make sure to close them well. Place on prepared sheets. Brush the empanada tops with the remaining egg wash (if you remember) and then bake for about 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve with sauce of your choice.
LindySez: You can prepare the filling a day in advance if desired, refrigerate until needed. If you prefer, you can make the whole empanada a day in advance, cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove covering before cooking.
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