For being either “street food” or pastry, empanadas have earned their place in my heart and my taste buds. Each time I go to Colombia to visit my in laws, I have to have empanadas. And my favorite is always the traditional rice and beef filling. My husband has his favorite place to buy empanadas, which have quickly became my favorite place as well. I could eat more of them everyday!
Previously, I attempted many many times in making empanadas with no success. It was the skin! I couldn’t seem to get it right. It was either too thick or they fell apart when I tried to fry them. It was a big mess. On my last trip to Colombia, I had the chance to watch someone made a homemade empanadas, and of course, when I got back in the U.S, I was itching to try to make one myself!
So, here it is what I did and finally, came out pretty well! I was happy and so did my husband. A little disclaimer: I don’t bake… don’t really like it, and making the skin is like baking to me… so, please try it on your own risk 😉 Come on, it is worthed it!!
2 cup white wheat flour (harina de trigo)
4 tbp butter, room temperature
1/3 cup and 2 tbp water
salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
6 cup of oil to fry
You can pretty much put any kind of filling you want.. you can be creative. I’ve found many empanadas in Santander have been “westernized” in a sense that I found such cheese, or ham and cheese fillings inside them. So, go ahead and put in whatever you like!
But, if you want to be traditional.. here are the ingredients:
1 cup of rice
1 lb of ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbp cilantro
2 tbp oil
Pour the flour in a flat surface. Season with salt. Make hole in the middle of the flour mount, so it would look like a crown. Put the butter the center following with water. Start putting the flour on top of the butter and squeeze them together to make a dough. When you create a big ball, start kneading them until it is dough like consistency. It helps, to kind of slapping the dough down the surface when kneading. (If it is necessary add in a little more butter and water to reach the consistency needed).
Let it sit for 5- 10 mins before shaping the dough. Take a golf ball size of dough.. flatten it with either side of drinking cup or rolling pin until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Put in about 1-2 tbp filling in the middle. Fold into two, into a half moon shape. With a fork, start pressing the edges and cut the extra dough.
You can either cook the rice separately or you can cook the rice with the meat. What I did was cooking the rice separately in rice cooker. Easier. So, warm rice. Set aside. Brown the meat with garlic, onion, and cilantro. When the meat is brown, add in rice and mix well. Set aside until when you are ready with the dough.
When both are done, heat up the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, deep fry the empanadas until they are golden brown on both sides. Serve when they are hot!!
Enjoy!! It’s one of my favorites Colombian dish! You can also serve them with aji… which I think pretty much look like pico de gallo, but chop all the ingredients finer, and instead of using lemon juice, use vinegar and a little water. That is it!!