By Julia Dzurillay
Every family has a traditional go-to recipe. My mother always makes a dozen empanadas that leave me snacking for days. They’re simple, customizable and taste great leftover.
The ingredients in an empanada depend on the chef’s nationality. I’ve had empanadas with almonds, olives, raisins and even hard boiled eggs. Because my mother is from Nicaragua, our recipes are made of traditional and simple ingredients: ground beef, onions and spices.
Make your own empanadas with chicken or use cheese and spinach for a vegetarian option. You can even enjoy them baked or fried.
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 1/4 lb package of ground beef
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1/4 cup of tomato sauce
12-16 pimento stuffed green olives (sliced)
4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 tsp of cumin
Vegetable oil or corn oil
2 dozen “discos” or empanada shells
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat.
2. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
3. Add chopped onions to skillet and cook for about five minutes, or until soft.
4. Stir in tomato sauce, olives, garlic, cumin and oregano. Simmer mixture until it thickens for about 15 minutes.
5. Drain excess oil from mixture and set aside to cool for five minutes.
6. As the meat mixture is cooling, sprinkle flour on the counter. Roll out discos with a rolling pin until they’re 1/2 inch larger in diameter.
7. Add a spoonful of meat mixture into the middle of each disc. Moisten the edge of each disc with water, and fold in half. Use a fork to press the edges of the disc’s perimeter, enclosing the meat inside.
8. Fill a deep saucepan with about 2 1/2 inches of oil. Heat oil to 350 degrees and add empanadas in small batches. Cook for about two minutes on each side, or until crisp.
9. Transfer empanadas to a paper towel to drain excess oil.