In the infatuation stage of my courtship with Guillermo, I did all those sweet, silly things that smitten people do, namely, learning to cook recipes I wouldn't normally make, just to woo and impress the object of my affection. Only, I'm still doing it, and I really like it. When I decide things between us were likely to continue on a permanent basis, I started filling a little book with our favorite recipes of those early days, accompanied by wine labels from the bottles we enjoyed with the meal, painstakingly removed by soaking them in hot water.
When Esteban came along, the recipe book started getting filled with recipes we liked that were clipped out of magazines. But this recipe, for empanadas filled with shredded potato and ground beef, is from the front-of-the-book, aka "Guillermo and Rebecca, the Early Days". It's evolved over the years with my experience of eating more empanadas and getting a sense of what they should taste like, these are peppery and dense. The potato adds something different, and personally, I prefer making them with ground turkey for a change from beef.
When we first made these, Guillermo took photos and sent them to his mom, who was worried about her son being so far away in the U.S. with nobody to cook for him! The caption could have said, "Look mom! I found one who can cook--and she's American!!" And so started the influx of Florencia's recipes to me. (Many of those are in the book, too--I copied them, in Spanish, from her emails, hoping that someday, our gloriously bilingual children would savor every recipe from their Mom and Papi's own little recipe book.) I hope you enjoy them, too!
A note about Empanada of the Month: I didn't receive any entries this month to post a round-up about! So this month I'm just posting a recipe rather than making it a monthly event. If you would like another event, or would like an event where everyone does their own recipe, or have a different idea, please leave me a comment, or drop me an email! Alternatively, I'll just post a great Empanada recipe every month! Thanks!
Receta Para Empanadas de Papas y Carne Picante
Recipe For Peppery Potato and Meat Empanadas
2 medium potatoes, peeled and boiled for 5 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon hot paprika
salt to taste
lots of black pepper
hard-boiled egg, sliced
green olives, pitted and sliced length-wise
1 egg, lightly beaten
Grate the potatoes into a medium bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the ground meat and brown it, separating with a flat spatula as necessary to make small bits. If you are using ground turkey, you may find it helpful to add more oil and even a few tablespoons of milk to keep the turkey form drying out as it cooks. Add the potato, spices, salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use pre-cut empanada rounds, or your own home-made empanada rounds. On a floured work surface, set out several empanada rounds. Put about 2 tablespoons filling in the center, of each round and place a slice of egg and an olive slice on top of the meat mixture. Seal by folding the empanada shell over into a half moon shape (wet edges of one half with a few drops of water) Seal by pressing around the edges firmly with your finger. Cup the filling inside the empanada shell with your hands, making the filling inside kind of ball together. Then fold the edges over, almost as you would a pie-crust, twisting up one small edge, and pressing down firmly, then repeating the action until you have reached the other end of the empanada. This method is called repulgue, you can watch the video of how to do it here. Alternatively, press the edges all around with a fork, making a fork pattern.
Place the empanadas about an inch apart on a floured cookie sheet. Brush the tops with a beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust outside is golden.