Thursday, January 2, 2014

Whole Wheat Beef Empanadas

I've had empanadas on my mind all day. Why? I have no idea! But honestly, when isn't it a good time to crave these beautiful little pillows with their tempting fillings?

Once I started looking for empanada recipes, my challenge quickly became clear - find a quick, easy dough recipe that did not call for copious amounts of butter/lard. Or masa harina (traditional flour made from dried corn), authentic as it is. The filling? I was more confident about the filling - after all, the options are endless, so it's hard to go wrong. I have a little ball of dough left and am dreaming of apple empanadas already...

I finally found a handful of healthy dough recipes and decided to add a few of my own modifications (original dough recipe here). These empanadas are pretty easy, all in all. Of course, the dough is the most time and labor-intensive part. Normally I refuse to roll out dough, but I was ambitious today - hey, it's a new year!

 I'm glad I decided to go the extra mile. It was worth it - these empanadas are delicious! When baked, the dough is lightly crunchy and chewy. Inside?  Toothsome, meaty, and warm, with a little hint of sweetness from cranberries. Perfect for starting of a very chilly 2014!

Whole Wheat Beef Empanadas

For the dough

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 large egg

1/4 cup cold water

For the filling

1/2 lb ground sirloin

2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 large white or yellow onion, minced

2 springs green onion, chopped

1/4 cup cranberries or raisins, chopped

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chile powder

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

milk (for brushing empanadas before baking)

1. Preheat oven to 400F and prepare the dough. Combine flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine egg and water in a separate bowl

2. Add olive oil, egg, and water to salt and flour. Mix until just incorporated. Knead lightly. 

3. Cover and place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling

4. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Mince garlic and onion. Add to pan until garlic is fragrant and onion is translucent. 

5. Add ground beef, chopped green onion, cumin, chile powder, salt and pepper

6. When beef is cooked through, stir in chopped cranberries. Remove pan from heat and set aside

7. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out on a well-floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness

8. Depending on how big you want your empanadas to be, cut them to your liking using a cookie cutter (or whatever you have on hand!)

9. Spoon filling onto dough circles. Fold dough over and seal edges using fork tines

10. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Place empanadas on sheet and brush with milk

11. Bake for 20-22 minutes until dough is golden brown

I hope you enjoy these empanadas as much as we did! They're well worth the effort, and once you make them, you'll start to wonder just what else you can fill them with. Go ahead and have fun - I know I'll be making variations of these to come! 

Happy New Year and thanks for reading! 


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