These little beef empanadas or meat turnovers are absolutely fabulous! You can make them small to serve as an appetizer or you can make them large and serve as a main meal.
These are spicy but you can omit the chipotles if you would prefer. They will still be wonderful!
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Makes about 50 small empanadas
FOR THE DOUGH:
2 TBS milk
1/8 tsp. salt
2 ¼ cups sifted flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ cup cold butter — sliced
1 TBS cider or white vinegar
1/3 cup ice cold water
Place the egg, milk and 1/8th tsp. salt in a bowl and whisk it with a fork. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the sifted flour and the 1 ½ tsp. salt. Mix well. Add the butter and incorporate it into the flour, using your clean hands, 2 knives or a food processor. Mix until the flour resembles bread crumbs.
Add the egg mixture, the vinegar and the water to the flour. Use your fork to incorporate all the ingredients.
Dump the dough on a clean, floured counter top. Carefully bring it all together — do not knead it — until you have a ball. This should take 2 to 3 pressing with the heel of your hands. Do not over-work the dough. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
After an hour, divide the dough in half and place it on a clean, floured counter top. Roll it out until you have about 1/8th inch thickness. Use a glass or round cookie cutter — any size you prefer — and cut the dough. Reuse the left over dough until you have no more left over.
FOR THE FILLING:
3 TBS oil
1 medium onion — finely chopped
2 garlic cloves — minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo — chopped
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup peas
½ large carrot — finely cubed
½ large potato — finely cubed
3 Roma tomatoes — peeled and finely chopped (you can use canned)
10 black olives — chopped
½ TBS crushed oregano
Salt & Pepper
½ cup water
1 egg with a slash of cold water
Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
Heat 2 TBS of oil in a skillet. Add the onions and cook for about 8 minutes, until they soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and the chipotles. Mix well and cook for about 2 minutes — until you can smell the garlic and chilies.
Add the beef and mix well. Cook for a few minutes and add the carrots, peas and potatoes. Mix well again and form a well in the middle of the pan. Add the remaining 1 TBS of oil and the cumin. Cook the cumin, mixing constantly for a couple of minutes. Incorporate the cooked cumin into the meat and vegetables.
Add the tomatoes, olives and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the water. Mix everything well, cover, and allow simmering for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool down completely before assembling your empanada.
Roll out your dough as explained above. Place your filling in the middle of your circle and fold. Make sure to press the edges so they stick together. You can leave them like this, press them with a fork, or form a ‘rope’ by overlapping it. Place the empanadas onto the baking sheet.
Sprinkle some chipotle powder into the egg and water. Beat with a fork and brush the empanadas. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake them for 25 minutes — or until the bottom browns lightly and you can visibly see that the dough is cooked. Serve and enjoy!
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