Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yucatan Empanadas

My favorite Christmas present this year was a set of empanada makers from D's sister. I've been thinking about making empanadas since before Thanksgiving. Frozen ground turkey from an organic bird was just waiting in the freezer to get doctored up into some spicy turkey empanadas. I'd never made them before, so I kept putting it off, mostly because I am not usually graceful enough with dough. But I threw a bag of the frozen turkey meat in our cooler for the few days we were staying at our friends' country house in PA between Christmas and New Year. Just before we left, D's sister dropped off some presents, and the empanada makers were among them. I researched some recipes, packed together the ingredients, and off we went.

This is the recipe for the dough, and followed by a website that gives a step-by-step tutorial on how to make empanadas.

Cornmeal Whole Wheat Crust

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 minus 2 tbsp cup yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp almonds
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
6 whole coriander seeds
1/2 cup cold water (or more as necessary)
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine flours, cornmeal, baking powder, seasonings and salt in a blender or food processor; pulse just til combined.

Add water, butter, and egg; pulse just til combined, adding additional water if needed. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface; knead gently 4 to 5 times. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an approximately 6" circle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon 1/4 cup of filling into center of each circle.

This is what I did for the filling, but you could do so many things with empanadas....

1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
½ cup currants
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp Yucatan spice mix
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until the crust is browned.

Step-by-step instructions:

And this is how we served it:

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