Empanadas: a handy meal

Empanadas are a Latin American pastry made by folding dough over some type of stuffing of your choosing. Some say that empanadas were born from the mines. Miners could eat their delicious lunch without getting it dirty if they grabbed the empanadas from the crust, which is why in some places you’ll find empanadas with really thick crusts on one of the edges. Empanadas can be savory, sweet, and everything in between. Which means you can really let your creativity fly regarding the filling.

Why we like them: When you are on the go for so long, it is important to have good and healthy food that’s also easy to transport and, most importantly, not messy while eating. Empanadas are perfect for that! Beach day, chicken bus, loads of driving, hiking, you name it! The trick really is the dough, as the filling is infinitely customizable. As a result, we never get bored of them as we love to explore new and different fillings. Moreover, if you have any food allergies, this is the perfect to-go lunch because every ingredient can be easily substituted. We made our first batch ever for Thanksgiving in Boston and the second batch for friends in New Mexico. The second time, we had to drive for 10 hours the following day and that’s when we fell in love with these babies!

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Dough ingredients (8 – 10 pcs):

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting. If you are allergic to gluten you can substitute with spelt flower and the empanadas will be just as yummy.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces. If you have any dairy allergies you can substitute with coconut oil, just make sure to stick it in the freezer before making the dough. Coconut oil melts faster than butter, so don’t bring the oil out of the freezer until you are ready to pinch.
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water (do not beat until ready to bake)

Stuffing ingredients:

  • 2 large bunches of spinach.
  • 1 large onion.
  • 4 garlic cloves.
  • Olive oil.
  • Medium pack of plain goat cheese.
  • 2 – 3 chorizo sausages (depending on your taste).

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Directions:

  1. Make the dough:
    1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
    2. Cut butter (or coconut oil) into small pieces. Then, using your fingers, mix the butter into the flour mixture until it’s crumbly.
      1. All this means is: you have to pinch the butter with your fingers to get it to break down, without melting completely, and mix with the flour.
    3. Add just enough cold water so the dough comes together. You should be using roughly a cup. I would suggest adding a small splash at a time to get the right consistency. Ideally the dough will be moist, but not gooey.
  2. Cool the dough.
    1. Divide the dough in 8 equal parts.
    2. Set on a plate without stacking them.
    3. Cover with plastic.
    4. Place in fridge.
  3. Prepare stuffing:
    1. Chop onions and garlic into small pieces.
    2. Chop sausage into half slices.
    3. Heat olive oil in pan.
    4. Throw the onions and the garlic in the pan, stir them often until brown.
    5. Add the chorizo once the onions have a golden color.
    6. Once the chorizo is cooked, slowly add the spinach to the pan and cook until soft.
    7. Stir and let it cool on the side.
  4. Let the fun commence:
    1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
    2. Flatten the previously cut portions of dough. Do not worry if they are not perfect circles, empanadas are extremely forgiving and you can re-do the shape after folding.
    3. Once the dough is flattened, place stuffing over it.
    4. Fold the dough over the stuffing and pinch the ends.
    5. Put on an oiled cookie sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes (or until golden/brown)

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Enjoy!

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