April 29, 2006
A staple in Latin American countries, these savory stuffed pastries are also a favorite in the Philippines. In Spain, these are served as tasty tapas, which are a variety of small plates of food or appetizers, customarily served before the main courses. Tapas are a good way to sample a variety of dishes, no wonder they’re gaining popularity even around here.The empanadas I tried to make here are a Chilean version. My husband came home from work one day and handed me a recipe for these which he got from the wine club he joined. The filling ingredients are a little different from what we’re used to in Manila. Ground beef was cooked with chopped raisins, green olives and bell peppers and somewhat spicy with the addition of cayenne pepper. Grated cheese was also added to the cooked meat mixture once it had cooled. There must be hundreds of filling variations out there. The Philippine version has either ground pork, beef or chicken with diced potatoes, raisins and green peas. The flaky dough was made with Crisco but I’m determined to find and use a healthier alternative next time using more olive oil instead of lard. Although I had my doubts about it since this is the first time I used it, I have to admit, the plastic empanada gadget ( shown above ) worked great. It comes in a set of three sizes, the smallest for making pierogis and the biggest size intended for calzones. One side cuts the dough circles and the other side seals with a fluted edge. The empanadas came out very uniform as seen in the photo below. They were brushed with eggwash before baking.