Happy National Empanada Day! Today, April 8th, is when we pay our respects to the empanada. If you haven’t had an empanada before, you are missing out. They are delicious!
Very similar to a hand held pies they originated in Southern Spain and are incredibly popular in Latin and South American Countries. In researching empanada I learned that they get their name form the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. My old roommate Dan is currently in Argentina and all week he has been telling me about the delicious empanadas down there. He is going to send me some pictures later on, so when I receive them I will put them in this post.
So in honor of the day, I decided to make empanadas! Empanada fillings can be almost anything. You can go sweet or savory, fried or baked. It might come as a surprise to you, but I went the savory and baked route as opposed to sugary and fried.
There are recipes out there to make your own dough, but I decided to buy already made dough. I didn’t see it in the grocery store I usually visit so I went to a Mexican grocery store. This was my first time ever visiting a this grocery store and it definitely won’t be my last. Inside I saw products I have been looking for or have always wanted to try! I could do an entire post on all the awesome food that I want to make and I probably will in the future. I tried to leave with just the empanadas, but I just couldn’t turn down buying chorizo or quesa fresca as well.
In buying the chorizo, I was committing to chorizo empanadas. This was a decision I was glad to live with. I had made empanadas years ago when I was at Wisconsin ( I say years but it was probably only 3 years ago). I was taking an Environmental Studies class and one of the aspects of the class was to attend an event put on by an environmental group on campus. My friend Maria talked me into going with her to a Slow Food meeting where you would make a group dinner ( trust me it wasn’t a hard sell). Anyway, the point of this story was that we made empanadas. I can’t exactly remember what kind they were but I think one had sweet potatoes and maybe one had black beans, but all I remember was how many you could easily make at once.
And that is probably my favorite thing about Empanadas. It is just as easy to make 50 as it is 5. You can even have an empanada making party and send people home with different flavors.
Here is the Empanada I made.
From the outside you can’t see much, so here is what the filling was made up of.
After chopping, sauteing, and mixing you are left with something that looks like this.
Before putting into a 350 degree oven, brush the outside with an egg wash. If everything goes correctly, here is what you are left with.
Here is the recipe:
Chorizo Pepper Empanada
Makes about 36 Empanadas
Empanada Dough (enough to make as many as you want)
1 medium onion (chopped finely in a food processor)
1 red bell pepper (chopped finely in a food processor)
1 green bell pepper (chopped finely in a food processor)
2 cups chopped chorizo sausage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
In a large pan over medium heat, cook peppers and onion for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Add paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir. Drain liquid and place peppers and onions into a large bowl. Let cool. As peppers and onions cool, cook chorizo for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add chorizo to the peppers and onion. Let cool. Once cool, stir in cheese.
Add about 2 tbsp of filling to each empanada shell. Seal empanadas. Using a mixture of one beaten egg and a dash of salt, bursh egg wash onto surface of sealed empanadas. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes until surface of empanadas has slightly browned. If you see the filling start to come out of the empanada remove from oven.