Well if this isn’t the perfect time for a recipe that feels like a mini arts and crafts project! Empanadas made fresh are SO worth the effort let me tell you especially with a good sauce (don’t worry I got you on that too!).
Why Colombian empanadas? My boyfriend is Colombian and I made these for his 30th birthday party as a surprise. I did a lot of research and got advice from a fellow Colombian on ingredients, techniques, etc. Happy to report that he loved them and I’ve now made them twice for us to enjoy at home (and even froze some for later enjoyment)!
I know this quarantine that many of us are going through right now brings up different issues for everyone, but for me, keeping busy is the most important thing I can do for my own mental health. Cooking is like therapy for me and being a food blogger… naturally I’ve been cooking 2-3 times a day, every day and enjoying every moment of it!
This is the perfect time to make a recipe you’ve never had time to do before or have always wanted to experiment with.
If (when) you make these.. you NEED to make the sauce that pairs with them because it’s SO good. See the recipe here for my Aji Verde Sauce!
For the filling:
- 2 russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 1/2 white onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 chicken bouillon tablet
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning
- 1 pound ground beef
For the dough:
- 2 cups yellow pre cooked cornmeal I used Pan brand
- 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet sazon goya con azafran
- 4 cups canola oil
Aji Verde Sauce
- See my recipe here!
In a heavy pot, add potatoes and chicken bouillon tablet. Fill with enough cold water to over, about 3 cups. Cook for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
In the same pot, heat olive oil on medium low heat. Add onions and red peppers and cook until soft about 6-8 minutes. Add scallions, garlic and cilantro. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add beef and using a wooden spoon, chop up into small pieces while cooking. Season with salt, pepper and adobo seasoning. Once cooked all the way through, add back in potatoes. Once combined, transfer to a bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes then place in refrigerator until cool enough to handle.
While filling is cooling, make the fresh dough by adding the cornmeal to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add in lukewarm water, canola oil, salt and sazon. Mix together with your hands until well combined.
Take a large piece of saran wrap (about 2 feet long) and place it on a hard surface (counter top, table, etc). Using a small cookie scoop (ideally, or a tablespoon), scoop the fresh dough into your hands, form a ball by rolling it between your hands and place in in the middle (or towards the first third) of the saran wrap.
Fold the saran wrap over the ball and then using a small pan (or flat plate), push down on the ball with the bottom of the pan until it makes a circle about 3 inches in diameter.
Place about 1 spoonful of filling inside, use the saran wrap to fold over one side of the circle covering the filling and gently seal the outsides with your fingers over the saran wrap. Gently remove the saran wrap and set aside. Continue until all your filling/dough is gone, it should make about 30!
Add approximately 4 cups of canola oil into a large pan with high sides (or a pot but I find it harder to remove them even though it's better for oil splashing) so that the oil is 2 inches high. Heat on high until temperature reaches 350 degrees.
Carefully place about 4-6 empanadas at a time in the pan (do not overcrowd!). Cook on each side for 2 minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
Storing in the freezer
You can freeze some for later by wrapping them in saran wrap and storing inside an airtight container. When cooking, follow the same steps above except leave for an extra minute on each side.