I have had a pretty blah day. Nothing much happened except I watched a few movies that I recorded over the weekend. I pulled a muscle in yoga class the other day. Went too deep into a back bend, so I am out of commission until I re-cooperate. It was stupid and I was foolishly trying to be too competitive with myself. I should have known when my yoga instructor said, “Wow, you are really going deep into your back” and my chest swelled with pride that that was a bad sign. It isn’t the first idiotic thing I have ever done and by far it is not the worst. A saying that we had at my last job was, “for every idiot proof system devised, a new improved idiot will arise and overcome it.” Oh well. So I bring you an empanada that I made last week to use up my Cuban style pork.
At one of the farmer’s markets that I frequent, one stall serves up Argentinian empanadas that are delicious. I wanted to recreate that flavor profile while also throwing in a few extra vegetables to round out the dish a little more. I had some puff pastry in the freezer that became my wrapper. Really it couldn’t get any simpler and the flavors are so strong from the spices that you could substitute most any meat and vegetable and have a wonderful little portable meal. Enjoy!
Argentinian Inspired Empanadas
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 pound Cuban style pork
1 potato, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon sumac or 1/4 cup pitted olives
1-2 tablespoon sugar
salt to taste
1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
In a saute; heat olive oil and add the chopped onions, potatoes, zucchini and carrots. Cook the onions until just before they begin to turn golden. Remove from the heat and stir in the sweet paprika, hot paprika, crushed red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Add pork and add salt to taste, cumin, sugar and vinegar. Mix the meat and onion mixture. Mix in raisins and sumac or olives well and place on a flat to dish to cool.
Open puff pastry dough. Place a mound of the meat mixture on one side. Avoid reaching the edges of the pastry with the filling because its oiliness will prevent good sealing. Slightly wet the edge of the pastry, fold in two and stick edges together. The shape should resemble that of a half-moon or calzone. You should have a 2/3 to 1/2 inch flat edge of pastry to work with. Seal by twisting edge, step by step, between thumb and index finger, making sure to add pressure before releasing the pinch and moving on to the next curl. Other sealing procedures like pinching without curling or using a fork to seal will not prevent juice leaks during baking, and empanadas must be juicy. Repeat with other puff pastry.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place empanadas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Be sure to prick each empanada with a knife to allow steam to escape during baking. Glaze with egg for shine and bake until golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.