More-with-Less Empanadas

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mexican Turnovers

Enough with the excerpts from eighteenth century French satirical novels. Give me something I can use.

Okay, here’s a recipe.

These are not healthy at all but they are extremely tasty and very cheap and a good way to use up little bits of things that would otherwise get thrown away.

I usually make the sweet version with cream cheese and jam, but sometimes I make a savory version with ground beef or refried beans and whatever else I have lying around.

Yesterday, I made some with ground beef, onion, celery, pickled jalapenos, and a little bit of cheddar cheese. For spices, I added salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

They were the bomb.

And when I say little bits of things, I mean little bits — you use just a tablespoon or two of filling in each empanada, so you can take literally a few tablespoons of celery and onion, half an ounce of cheese, and a quarter pound of ground beef and get eight or ten empanadas out of it. And you can definitely use things that are not in tip-top shape, once you mix it all up and add spices and wrap it in dough, many potential problems seem to disappear.

So these are great to make if you have stuff that seems like not enough to do anything with, or that is on its last legs, but that you don’t want to throw away. (Or that I don’t want to throw away, at least; I never want to throw anything away.) They’re also very portable, so that’s good too.

Just chop everything up into little bitty pieces, saute in a pan with a little fat, then wrap it inside the dough and bake (or fry … though I always bake these, it’s easier and they’re already pretty low on the health scale, it doesn’t seem like we need to make them worse by deep-frying.)

from the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre

Sift together in a bowl
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cut in
1/2 cup shortening

1/3 cup cold milk

Stir into a ball, handling like pie crust. Roll out thin and cut in 4″ rounds or squares. Place a spoonful of filling on one half of a round. Fold over, moisten edges, and press firmly so they seal. Deep fry, or bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

For sweet turnovers, add 2 Tbsp sugar to dry ingredients while making dough. Fill with 3 oz. cream cheese blended with 3 Tbsp fruit preserves, or simply with shredded cheese. Sprinkle fried empanadas with confectioners sugar.

[Note: you can adjust the amount of shortening and liquid as needed. I think I used 5 or 6 Tbsp of shortening instead of the full half cup, that seemed like a lot, and it seemed like I needed more than 1/3 of a cup of milk. Basically it’s like making biscuits, you just need everything to hold together so you can roll out.]

2 Responses to “More-with-Less Empanadas”

  1. Lorrie Says:

    These look good! They remind me of something I used to make awhile back. If I had left over ham, I would make biscuit dough and roll it into round like yours. Then I would put in some chopped ham and grated cheese and bake them. Not low calorie, but definitely delicious! Thanks for sharing and reminding me. I want to make them soon!

  2. lessisenough Says:

    Mmmm… ham & cheese empanadas sound great! And I think pretty much anything gets better when you wrap it in dough.

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