Friends who shop together and then cook together are certain to stay together! At least that’s my philosophy. This past weekend, I went on an excursion to Paterson NJ to the Argentinian market with Debbie and Jackie to get the authentic and flaky La Saltena brand wrappers to make empanadas. Debbie and I were determined to create a variety of fillings and fill our freezer with what I like to call the perfect pocket food. Since Jackie wanted to make dumplings instead, she just came along for the exceptional cappuccino. After a quick stop at the grocery store for additional ingredients, we were all set to start cooking, filling and crimping.
There’s no need to go into too much detail except it was an astoundingly successful few hours. Debbie and I made 160 empanadas stuffed with BBQ pork, curried beef and spicy steak while Jackie made 60 dumplings for her freezer. While we created, we caught up on one another’s lives, feeling satisfied after our time together in many ways. I’ve already served my empanadas to friends for lunch and to the kids after school and I’m plowing through my stash. There’s not a grumble of dissatisfaction from anyone. I’ll be teaching an empanada class at the Westfield Adult School next week and I’m always enthusiastic to share my simple secrets to success with simple mealtime solutions.
Steak Empanada Filling
Makes 12- 18 empanadas
1 pound skirt steak
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
½ red pepper, diced (optional)
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
40 Empanada wrappers
Spread minced garlic on both sides of steak. Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder on both sides. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Pre-heat the grill to medium high. Cook steak 4 minutes on one side. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside. Once the meat has cooled, cut into small pieces.
In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the shallots and jalapeno, seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix together the steak, shallots and cheese. Cool and use for empanada filling.
Crimp the Empanadas:
1. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of an empanada wrapper.
2. Fold one side over the other and crimp the edges together, using the rope or fork method.
3. Repeat until finished with all of the wrappers and filling.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Brush the tops of the empanadas with egg wash (one egg lightly beaten with a dash of water)
3. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Serve with dipping sauce.
Dipping Sauce for Steak Empanadas
¾ cup parsley, washed and stems removed
¾ cup cilantro, washed and stems removed
6 garlic cloves
Juice from ½ lemon
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 small red onion
Using the steel blade with a Cuisinart mixer, blend the ingredients together until smooth. Serve with empanadas or as a spread of chicken or steak.