So empanadas are pretty sweet. Well, I guess they’re more savory than sweet, unless we’re talking dessert empanadas here. Empanadas are sweet in the “awesome” sense. Or badass sense, even. Yes, empanadas = badass. Unfortunately, as I’ve determined, empanadas = a big ole pain in the patootey to make. It’s the dough. I have little patience for wheat-based dough. You’ve got to get the flour and the water and the whatever else kneaded together in the appropriate consistency, killing your hand muscles in the process. And then you have to roll it out, but not too much or it’ll get too thin or tough. And you’ve got to slather everything with flour so it doesn’t stick to every surface in your kitchen. However, the flip side of this is that everything is now slathered in flour rather than dough. Boo. Delicious results if you do it right, but a big pain either way.
So, I’ve got this maseca, corn flour if you will. I got it for corn tortillas, which are really easy to make. You just dump some water into some flour, squish it all together, roll it out (using wax paper! No flour needed!) and fry away! Delightful results, too. So, I started thinking that I could use corn flour for empanadas. Now, I’m sure there’s actual recipes for these out there somehow, but that would make too much sense to actually follow a recipe, right?
So first, the filling.
I decided to go the vegetarian route for this one, as it gave me an excuse to use an inordinately large amount of ricotta cheese. Cheese is very important to my lifestyle, as you know. Anyhow, I chopped up all of the vegetables (minus the cheese and green onion) and let them simmer in the pan for awhile along with some olive oil and these seasonings:
Yeah, you know how some people have a complete matching set of seasonings? Not I! I own possibly every brand of seasoning imaginable, and to top it off I have a weakness for buying seasonings in little plastic pouches, which ultimately end up in containers I have to relabel. Thus, I have the trashiest looking set of seasonings possible. But hey, whatever works, right? Anyhow, if you can’t read thanks to my poor penmanship, from left to right we have garlic, pepper, salt (please don’t ask why I keep my salt in an old oregano container), cumin, and oregano (gotten on sale, as you can tell!). On a mildly related note, I freaking love cumin. It’s great for anything that you want to have a savory, earthy flavor.
Anyhow, I added in the cheese and green onion near the end, as they don’t really require the simmer time as the rest of the vegetables. I mixed up some dough (maseca plus water to the point of “hey, this looks like dough!”), rolled the dough into balls and rolled out the balls between two pieces of wax paper. I let the filling cool a little bit first, then plopped it with a tablespoon into circles, folding them in half. Had to peel these rather delicately from the wax paper, but aside from that, this was a pretty smooth process. So I put these on a sheet pan, brushed some egg on top, and baked for about…12 minutes or so, I think?
I’m not sure I’d do the egg on top next time. Didn’t really add the shine like it would have on wheat-based flour dough. Aside from that, these were pretty good! A bit plain by themselves, but really decent with some salsa on top, and would probably work well with sour cream and guacamole. Actually, what I’d like to try doing is making these with some different filling ingredients. Keep the potatoes, cheese, and tomato, add in beans and some hot sauce for spice. As much as my stomach churns thinking of it, I bet you can stuff some breakfast burrito ingredients inside these guys and it would taste great to people who actually enjoy eating scrambled eggs (myself not included). Or, skip the Mexican angle entirely and fill these with some barbecued pork and a bit of onion for a delicious meat pie!