Empanadas are a South-American delight

Updated: 2013-02-27T01:31:17Z


Johnson County Community College

Empanadas are a staple for Chilean families. They’re served hot as an appetizer or cold as a grab-and-go dish to eat on the run.

“It’s a handy food, literally,” says JCCC student chef Claudia Ruiz Farias.

But you don’t have to live in South America to appreciate this dish. It’s perfect for on-the-go families who don’t always make it to the dinner table at the same time, or for serving to the crowd when they’re at your house to watch the big game on TV.

Farias took this traditional favorite from her homeland and added a few special touches to make it her own.

She spiced up the traditional seafood empanadas with chives and added cumin to the traditional merken and negrita seasonings in the Pino Chileno, or baked beef empanadas.

Merken is a spice blend of seven smoked peppers. Negrita is a cilantro, oregano and white pepper blend.

Chilean Empanada Duo

Makes 16 cocktail-size empanadas

For the dough:

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into 12 pieces

1 egg

4-5 tablespoons cold water

For the El Pebre (dipping sauce):

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

For the Pino Chileno (beef filling):

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, diced small

1 carrot, diced small

1 garlic clove, finely diced

10 ounces (85/15 percent) ground beef

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons paprika

Pinch cumin

1 teaspoon merken, available in Mexican and Latin stores

Pinch negrita seasoning, available in Mexican and Latin stores

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 egg, raw

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons sliced black olives

For La Frita del Mar (shrimp and cheese filling):

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

7 ounces rock shrimp

Kosher salt, to taste

White pepper, to taste

Red pepper flakes, to taste

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup chives, chopped

1 egg, separated

Canola and vegetable oil, for frying

Lemon, for garnish

To prepare the dough: Stir together flour and salt in bowl of electric mixer equipped with paddle. Add butter, egg and water; blend until it forms small balls. Form dough into a big ball using your hands; place in refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

For the dipping sauce: In a nonreactive bowl, mix all ingredients; cover and refrigerate.

For the beef filling: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots and garlic in oil until translucent; add ground beef, flour, sugar, salt and pepper, paprika, cumin, merken and negrita; cook until beef is browned. Add chicken stock and simmer over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chopped eggs, raisins and black olives.

For the shrimp and cheese filling: Place olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan; heat for a few seconds, then add shrimp. Cook through; stir in salt, white pepper and red pepper flakes. Add cheeses, citrus juices and chives; cook for 1 minute or until it all blends. Remove from heat; cool quickly.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Using half the dough, break into eight pieces and roll each to the size of a 50-cent piece. Place beef filling on one side of the circle; fold dough over and seal carefully using a fork to apply pressure. Place beef empanadas on a greased sheet pan and brush with egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Make shrimp and cheese empanadas with remaining dough. Fill, then brush edges of dough with egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water. Seal by pressing with a fork.

Heat vegetable and canola oil in a large sauce pan. Deep-fry shrimp and cheese empanadas in 2 1/2 inches oil in a Dutch oven until golden.

To serve: Serve empanadas piping hot with dipping sauce and slices of lemon.

Beef empanada: 354 calories (61 percent from fat), 24 grams total fat (10 grams saturated), 170 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 122 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

Shrimp and cheese empanada: 473 calories (70 percent from fat), 37 grams total fat (17 grams saturated), 135 milligrams cholesterol, 19 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 439 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

El Pebre, per serving: 10 calories (7 percent from fat), trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, 58 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.


Cooking 101 is an occasional column exclusive to The Star designed to introduce home cooks to basic cooking techniques. The recipe, food styling and photography involve culinary students and instructors in the Johnson County Community College Hospitality Management classes.

Recipe and food styling by Claudia Ruiz Farias, 30, a fourth-semester student in the Johnson County Community College hospitality management program. She is an apprentice at Hotel Sheraton in Overland Park.

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