When I knew that we were having a Memorial Day fiesta, I got to work on my menu. Because I knew this weekend would be busy with the Soldier Field 10 Miler and Bike the Drive, I wanted some easy and tasty foods that went along with our Mexican theme. However, the BOY had a different idea. On Thursday night, he decided that we needed to have empanadas at our BBQ. Empanadas???
I don’t typically eat them and I have NO IDEA how to make them. When I mentioned this to a coworker on Friday, she found me this recipe for Quick and Easy Empanadas. After an exciting and exhausting morning of biking and shopping, I finally made it back to our house at 2PM. This left me 2 hours to get cleaned up and finish prepping for the BBQ. This would have been fine except that I had these crazy empanadas to make.
The outside breading is easy enough if you use premade refrigerated biscuits.
I initially tried to flatten them out with my hands, but ended up pulling out my rolling pin.
I used the recipe as a guide, but adapted some of the measurements based on what was available in our house and what I had the patience to go searching for. I ended up stirring together the corn, cheese, salsa, onion, and garlic in a big bowl.
I made the first batch of empanadas without meat. Immediately, I was having trouble closing the biscuit!
With time running out, I was slightly frustrated, but I kept moving along until I had 8 empanadas. I baked them for about 15 minutes until the edges were brown and toasty.
Yikes! These do not look like empanadas! Although the warm, gooey inside tasted fantastic!
I stirred in some browned fajita meat for batch #2. I was able to learn a few things from my first attempt to help this second round go more smoothly. I rolled out my dough much thinner and used less filling. This made it easier for me to pinch the sides together sealing in the filling. The dough was still too thick (note to the reader…dough will expand when baking so roll it extremely thin…even thinner than you think you should). But, they looked much better than the first try.
I don’t know that my empanadas were exactly what the BOY had in mind, especially when I saw these beautiful pastries at Whole Foods the next day.
I have a little ways to go when it comes to the looks of my final product.
When guests arrived, I told them that they would have to just pull some of the extra dough off of the empanadas because there was not enough filling inside. When everyone started raving about the filling, I pulled the leftovers out of the tupperware that I had stashed in the fridge. Everyone loved it as a dip and dug right in. My plan was to use the leftovers with cream cheese as a warm appetizer, but when it was time to clean up, there was barely any left. I guess that is a success!
For dinner the next night, we pulled out a variety of delicious leftovers. I created this salad complete with everything that we had leftover in one bowl. It was incredible. The BOY used the empanada filling as a salsa on his fajitas. Yummy!
I’m sharing this recipe because I think with a little more time and TLC, these empanadas can be great. But if you don’t have time and patience to make them, you can use this filling as a dip or salsa. Or…spread a layer of softened cream cheese (and refried beans if you want) on the bottom of an oven proof dish, top with the filling (recipe below), and biscuits if desired. Then bake until the top is brown and the inside is warm and bubbly.
Quick and Easy Empanadas (or cheese, tomato and corn dip)
1 lb ground beef (optional)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can fresh cut corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa (I recommend a black bean salsa)
2 (16 ounce) cans large refrigerated biscuits
Brown the ground beef in a frying pan adding the salt and pepper just before done.
Let the beef cool.
In a large bowl mix the corn, onions, cheese, and salsa, then add the cooled beef mixing carefully so not to break up all the cheese.
Roll the biscuits out flat to about 2-1/2 times their size. (I found it easier to make more of an oval shape).
Place approximately 1/3 cup filling on one side of the center of the circle lengthwise.
Fold the dough over the filling like a turn over and crimp the edges like a pie crust. Be careful not to tear the dough, and to seal the edges completely or your filling will come out! depending on how much filling is used will determine how many biscuits you will use.
Place on slightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 till lightly browned (about 15 minutes).
***Note: I would suggest layering cream cheese, filling, and pastry as described above and making it into a dip!
OPTIONS: These turnovers would be easy to fill with sauce and cheese for pizza puffs or fruit, cinnamon and sugar for dessert empanadas.