EMPANADAS


Yesterday was PI Day.

What is pi ()? Who first used pi? How do you find its value? What is it for? How many digits is it?

By definition, pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is always the same number, no matter which circle you use to compute it. For the sake of usefulness people often need to approximate pi. For many purposes you can use 3.14159, which is really pretty good, but if you want a better approximation you can use a computer to get it. Here's pi to many more digits: 3.14159265358979323846. The area of a circle is pi times the square of the length of the radius, or "pi r squared":

A = pi*r^2

ANYWAY....being March 14th (3-14) someone somewhere a while back started call it Pi day. I always bake a Pie on Pi day. Yes, I know you are now saying "Julie, that is sooooo cliche!". Uh-huh-I know, but sometimes it's fun just to roll with it.

So, what kind of Pie did I make? I am glad you asked!

I went against the grain a little yesterday and made empanadas! If you live on the Mexican boarder you know exactly what they are, but for the sake of my fellow foodie friends who don't know: An empanada is a mini pie usually filled with savory ingredients and usually pan or deep fried. You can bake them too, but I think pan fried is the traditional way to go. They are a staple in South and Central America, where the shell is usually made from
MASA-or corn flour. Mine are made from all purpose flour for the sake of easiness.

 I have filled these lovely little pockets with every combination of ingredients I can think of. From simple taco meat to five spice spiked chocolate truffle mix. Any way you eat them they are gorgeous.

Below is a standard filling. But use your imagination. Go wild and try some of your own fillings. You will be rewarded time and time again with amazing yumminess!!!

My favorite thing about them is that they freeze very well. I like to make a large batch and cook a few now and freeze the rest for later. Here is the recipe and corresponding pictures.

Empanadas

DOUGH:
3 cups AP Flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher, or sea, salt
9oz. (18Tbs.) very cold butter
11Tbs. cold water
Place the first four ingredients into a food processor and pulse on and off until you have a pebbly sand consistency.

Add the water and pulse the machine on and off a few more time until the mix comes together.

Transfer the dough to a clean surface and gently knead for 20-30 seconds just until you form a ball. DO not overwork the dough or it will be tough and chewy. Flatten the dough into a thick disk and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes to rest and chill.

Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. cut into 2 1/2 inch circles with a cookie cutter or the rim of a rocks glass.

FILLING
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 Lb. ground beef, pork, lamb, goat, or chicken-or any combination thereof
1 Tbs. each smoked paprika, cumin, coriander
1tsp cayenne
2 tsp. salt

Over medium high heat, saute the onions and garlic in the oil. once the onions are cooked-about 5 minutes- add your ground meat of choice (I have used smoked tofu as well with some success). saute until the meat is cooked through. Drain off as much oil as you can. Add the spices and saute until fragrant. About 5 minutes more. Let the mix cool, and stuff your empanada dough with filling.

TO ASSEMBLE
Flatten out the dough a little bit more. Place it on a clean surface. Brush the entire disk with egg wash (1 egg and 2Tbs. water whisked together). Place 2 Tbs. of filling in the center of the dough disk.

Fold the dough over to form a pocket and crimp the edges together. See video -->



Bake the pocket at 400* for 12-15 minutes. Or you can pan fry them in a little corn oil for
3-4 minutes per side, or deep fry them for 3-5 minutes. Serve with sour cream, salsa and anything else you think would be yummy to dip them in!! Ole!!!

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