One of my very best friends introduced me to the wonders of homemade empanadas a few years ago. I’ve made them with her a couple of times, but never made them by myself. I am so glad that I came across the recipe again and decided to make them last week.
The dough recipe is simple and can be done by hand or with a food processor. It does need to chill before rolling, so make sure to give yourself at least an hour for that. Better yet, make the dough the day before or in the morning and it’s ready to use when you need it. The dough is easy to handle and it bakes up flaky and buttery and just plain amazing.
This pork carnitas recipe is from Simply Recipes, has terrific flavor and is the perfect filling for the dough. It’s definitely something I’m going to keep in my go-to file of recipes. You’ll have leftover meat if you make the full 3-4 pounds, and I plan to use some of it in tacos and freeze some for later. If you don’t have time to make the pork, then you can use ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, shredded chicken, beans or a combination of vegetables. You can even add a little cheese to the filling if you’d like to.
Serve these lovely meat pies with sour cream for dipping, guacamole on the side, salsa, or maybe this sauce that I’ve been drooling over recently.
When we had these for dinner I served this Mexican street corn on the side. But they can stand alone as a meal with a simple green salad. You can also make them smaller and serve them as appetizers. I cut them into 5-inch circles and 2-3 was a good serving size for dinner.
Here are some good tips on freezing both baked and unbaked empanadas, as well as a few delicious sounding recipes for different fillings. I think I might have to whip up another batch to freeze for when we have a new baby on our hands in 6 weeks!
Empanadas with Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
From Carrie Hartman and Simply Recipes
- 4 1/2 cups flour + extra for dusting
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 sticks of cold butter, cut into cubes
- 2 eggs + 1 egg for egg wash
- 2/3-1 cup of ice water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
- 4 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- In the bowl of a food processor pulse flour and salt a few times. Add in the butter and pulse until butter in is pea sized pieces.
- Whisk the eggs with 2/3 cup water and the vinegar. With the processor running, stream in the egg mixture just until the dough comes together. If it seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat together into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour and up to a day or so.
- Combine all the spices in a bowl and whisk them together.
- Place the meat in a plastic bag and add the spice mixture. Turn the bag to coat the meat. Put the bag in the refrigerator and let the meat marinate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
- Place the meat in the slow cooker with the vegetable oil and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Remove to a cutting board and let cool until you can handle the meat, then shred it. If meat seems dry, add some of the juices in the crock pot back to the meat to moisten it.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Remove dough from the fridge and cut in half. Return the other half to the fridge. Let it warm up for 10-15 minutes until it can be easily rolled out.
- Flour a clean work surface and roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut out rounds of dough about 5 inches in diameter, using a bowl as a guide.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto one side of a round of dough, fold the other half over and pinch the dough together to conceal the filling. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Whisk an egg with a little water in a small bowl. Brush some of the egg wash onto the top. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut a small vent in the top with a paring knife. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Take the other half of the dough out and repeat with another cookie sheet (or 2) while you bake the first batch.
- Bake empanadas for 15-20 minutes depending on the size until pastries are golden brown.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.