Being from land-locked Colorado, I'm not much of a seafood eater. So the idea of an empanada with stuffed with tuna--well, I'll admit it didn't immediately have my mouth watering. I thought it sounded like a strange combination, but in the interest of experimenting, I decided to (pardon the pun) take the plunge .
I'm delighted to report that the experiment results have been calculated, and that this empanada is delicious.
I was so surprised by the flavor of these empanadas, that I found myself actually hoarding them! I kept stuffing them in my mouth when I thought no one was around--it was Guillermo who busted me. "Where did all the empanadas go?" he wandered in to the kitchen and asked. (I think he had some hoarding plans of his own...)
This is another of the Empanadas de Vigilia--Lenten Empanadas. They avoid red meat, as many observant Catholics do during the season of Lent. Seafood is a common filling in these--fish and celery being a common combination; shrimp or lobster (often fried empanadas) are also typical.
These empanadas can be made any time--not just at Lent--for anyone who eats 'almost meatless', (like the book available in my Amazon store!) or for a change in the regular empanada routine. (I hope you have an empanada routine, or maybe even habit, as we do!)
And as Lydia at the Perfect Pantry recently noted, if you can buy the pre-made tapas or discosfor empanadas at your local Latin market (try the frozen section--I really believe that if I can find them in Denver, they're available everywhere) making empanadas is fun and fast enough to be a weeknight meal. The filling takes about 10 minutes to assemble, then it's filling (even kids can help with this) and into the oven for 15 minutes. Price wise, the total per dozen is around $12 --add a green salad and dessert, and you have a meal!
And join me in taking the plunge!
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Empanadas de Atun y Morrones
Tuna and Roasted Red Pepper Empanadas
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced
1 can of tuna, drained
1 small jar roasted red peppers (or 1 pepper, if you roast your own)
1/2 cup salsa blanca (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons Mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon oregano
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
small glass of water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Hard boil the egg, then let cool. Dice the red pepper. In a medium bowl, put the tuna, separate with a fork, mix in the red pepper, and start the salsa blanca. To make salsa blanca, put 1/2 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let cool for about five minutes. Add the sauce to the tuna and red pepper mixture, then add in the cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.
Lay the tapas out on the counter to fill assembly-line style. (But fill them one at a time, so the center of the dough doesn't get mushy) In each round, put a spoonful of filling then top with a small slice of the hard-boiled egg. Wet your index finger with a little water and moisten the top half of the tapa. Fold the bottom half to meet the top half, pressing around the edges to seal. Cup your hands around the filling, packing the filling with the outside edge of your hands. Seal using the repulgue technique, folding edges over and over in a pattern, or seal the edges using the tines of a fork. Place the sealed empanadas on a lightly floured cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Brush the beaten egg mixture over the top of each empanada. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is a golden brown.