Hey, Autumn? Cool, crisp autumn….you can start any time now. Really, feel free to take over. I am SO ready for fall weather. And fall flavors. Mmmm pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, sweet potato. Not that summer cooking isn’t exceptional too – grilling and fresh fruits and ice cream. But who else is counting down til the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte?
This recipe doesn’t contain any of that. In fact it is non-seasonal. It’s EMPANADAS! The first time I had an empanada was four weeks ago in Manhattan at a tiny, colorful, Cuban restaurant called Empanada Mama. (How cute is that name!) Dinner inspiration comes from all over and when my family was planning our week’s menu, we decided to recreate our own empanadas.
They looked easy enough to make: a “crust” and filling of your choice. We made a cornmeal crust and spicy chili filling with cheese, onions and tomatoes topped with avocado and more tomatoes. Good call on the cornmeal! There are literally unlimited ways to make and fill these things though…pizza-stuffed, veggie-stuffed, seafood, cheeseburger, fajita – it doesn’t have to be Cuban! (In theory, you can even make a dessert empanada. THINK about the possibilities!) Haha basically, have fun with them :)
Baked Chilli Empanadas:
For the crust:
1 cup non-fat milk
1 package active dry yeast
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups white or wheat flour (we’ve used both and both are great!)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 lb. or ground beef or ground turkey
1 packet of chili seasoning
Tomato, avocado and light sour cream to top
1. Warm milk in a saucepan to 110 degrees. (Watch carefully, it happens fast!) Stir in yeast.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, brown sugar and cornmeal. Add in the milk and stir. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface, shape into a ball, place into the bowl and cover with a towel. Allow to sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare your ground beef or turkey with the chili mixture or seasoning of your choice.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a circular cup or small bowl, cut out discs of dough to fill for your empanada (ours were about 6 inches in diameter)
6. Fill the middle of the dough disc with chili meat, cheese, onions and tomatoes. (If you are a bean-eater, those might be well-suited in this mixture as well.)
7. Dip your fingers in water and dampen the edges of the dough disc; then fold in half to a half-moon shape and pinch closed.
8. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden delicious. Top with avocado, tomatoes and/or sour cream and enjoy :)