I wanted to write a simple and hands-on post about how to make Empanadas. Here is the basic set-up for any type of empanada, though the ones shown here are Empanadas Mendocinas (This video shows the sealing technique called repulgue).
The set-up is (top left to right):
Container of filling, which in this case is meat and onion.
A stack of pre-made empanada shells
A handful of pitted black olives
A hard-boiled egg (and knife to slice them both)
Four tapas to make a few empanadas at a time, assembly-line style
A spoon for the filling
A brush to brush beaten egg over the empanadas once they're filled and sealed
A glass with beaten egg used to brush over the empanadas
A glass of water to wet the edges of the tapas right as they are being filled to seal the edges of the dough
A floured pan to place the filled empanadas on
I find that the empanada-making process is quicker and easier with everything set up together on one surface, like a little empanada factory. Since I'm the one making the emapandas, this is a station for one, but with more than one, the filling set-up could be in the center while the individul tapas are at each chair. My two-year-old helps to paint the egg on the filled empanadas. As he gets older, I hope we can do the whole process together.
How do you pronounce Empanada?
em-pah-NA-dah. The NA is a flat N, not an Ñ, so there's no rolling sound.
What type of tapas do you use?
As for premade tapas, I use the La Salteña brand. I buy them at a Latin market here in Denver that has many Argentinean and South American goods, like yerba mate, dulce de leche, and the other products La Salteña makes, like tapas for Pastelitos and Raviolis. If you can't find this brand, that's fine, Goya, among others, makes one, too.
Are pre-made tapas Vegetarian?
These are not vegetarian! The second ingredient is beef fat (seriously) and so if you are going for a totally veg empanada, make your own tapas.
Can I freeze Empanadas?
Yes! I recommend preparing and baking the empanadas before freezing. They can then be re-heated in small quantities in the microwave, or by the dozen in the oven. If your aim is making several dozen (for a party or other event)' bake then freeze' is the best way to ensure everything is thoroughly cooked. To reheat, set the oven temp to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the filling is heated through.
What's the difference between the different types of tapas?
I've found 3 types of La Salteña tapas in the store. 'Para Horno' means 'for baking'. 'Para Freir' means 'for frying,' and 'Hojaldre' means 'puff pastry'. The horno style and the hojaldre style are both for baking. The horno style is a pie-crusty type of dough, whereas the hojaldre will give a delicate, flaky pastry-style crust. The fried style lends itself well to seafood or vegetable empanadas, and is more typical in the Buenos Aires area. Of the other brands I've used, the dough style is most like the 'horno' style.
Below are photos of the packaging of both the Horno and Hojaldre-style tapas...
'Hojaldradas para Horno' means Puff Pastry style for the oven' and 'Bien Sabrosas' means 'Very Tasty'
And they are! My next post will address how to make tapas from scratch. Please feel free to leave additional questions about empanadas in the comments section.
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