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Baked Empanadas With Beef Filling

One of the most common recipes found across cultures is pastry stuffed with a filling. Think Chinese eggrolls or Ukrainian perogies. The Spanish and South American empanada and the chimichanga are others. I think of both as versions of meat pies made into portable meals. CanolaInfo this summer has featured very tasty recipes on its website for a baked empanada with beef filling and a chimichanga, a type of deep-fried burrito. The empanadas are small enough to make good appetizers but you can also make them a little larger for bigger appetites too.

You’ll find more great recipes on the CanolaInfo website at www.canolainfo.org

4 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt (optional)

1 c. canola oil

1 c. warm water or milk

Filling:

3 tbsp. canola oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1/4 c. currants

1/4 c. chopped olives

1 c. beef broth

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

2 small cooked potatoes,

diced into 1-inch cubes

Place flour, baking powder and salt in food processor; process for five seconds. With machine running, add canola oil and then warm water through feed tube; process until dough almost gathers into ball. (Add additional water if necessary). Transfer to floured surface; knead for a few seconds. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 30 minutes. Form dough into nine-inch log; cut into 12 portions about 3/4 inch each. On lightly floured surface, roll portion with rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 4-inch dough circle using wide-mouth glass, jar or can. (You may get four extra circles by rolling out leftover dough). Unbaked empanada discs may be frozen. Stack discs between wax paper and place in resealable, freezer plastic bag. Thaw to use.

In saucepan over medium-high heat, add canola oil. Sauté onions and garlic until softened. Add ground beef and brown until completely cooked through. Combine pepper, salt, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, currants and black olives with beef mixture. Add beef broth. Simmer mixture, uncovered, on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes until liquid is almost evaporated. Add potatoes and fold in eggs. Adjust seasonings. To fill empanadas, lightly brush edge of half-circle with egg white mixture of one egg white and one tablespoon of water. Place about one heaping tablespoon of beef filling in centre. Fold half of circle over to form half-moon and press edges together firmly. Gently press fork into dough to form ridges if desired. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops with egg white mixture. Pierce tops once with fork. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; let cool for five minutes before serving. Yield: 32 empanadas.

Note: This recipe looks time consuming for a busy time of year but I produced 10 good-size empanadas in about 45 minutes from start to finish. One empanada of this size, served with a lettuce salad and veggies and dip, produces a substantial meal. I made the dough by hand rather than in a food processor and reduced the water to three-quarters of a cup. The dough was stretchy yet easy to handle. I didn’t bother to cut discs but just rolled out rounds of varying sizes. They baked to a beautiful golden brown in about 18 minutes and cooled down quickly. They are easily transported in a Tupperware container. LS

Chimichanga

Chimichangas are a type of deep-fried burrito.

1 tsp. canola oil

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 (10-oz./284-ml) can tomatoes

with green chilies, drained

1 tsp. chili flakes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

12 flour tortillas (8 inch)

Canola oil for deep frying

In a skillet, brown ground beef in first amount of canola oil. Drain. Add onion. Cook two minutes. Add tomatoes, green chilies, chili flakes, garlic and oregano. Simmer five minutes. Spoon tablespoon of meat near one edge of a tortilla. Fold nearest edge over meat; fold both ends in like an envelope. Roll tortilla and secure with toothpicks. Deep fry in hot canola oil until golden on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce with salsa. Yield: 12 servings.

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