Tag Archives: Dough

{ Homemade Empanadas }

I’ve been hunting for BA’s most delicious empanada for months now, and so far, my favorite contenders for the title also happen to be the spiciest (list of top 10 picks coming soon!). However, finding the right combination of tender meat, flakey dough, and proper spice can be quite a challenge in a country where hot sauce and chili peppers are shunned like the the plague. Also, Argentines don’t like to combine different food groups when it comes to stuffing empanadas (in a manner akin to children segregating their mashed potatoes from their meatloaf, as if an imaginary forcefield was dividing their plate). It’s either meat or cheese….never both in one pastry!

This continues to boggle my mind, because they have all the best ingredients at their disposal…they just never seem to get assembled in the way that I would combine them. I love meat and I love cheese….so why not put them together in one super delicious empanada, rather than forcing me to take a bite of caprese followed by a bite of carne (besides that fact that it always lures me into purchasing two empanadas, of course)?!

In an effort to solve this rather distressing empanada dilemma, I have decided to try making my own! Which brings me to TheGrubDaily’s first ever food event–a DIY Empanada Party, hosted in conjunction with the fabulous KitchenParty.org and LVstudio! I offered my home and empanadas caseras in exchange for good company and a bottle of wine to share! It turned out to be a wild success, as 120 empanadas were served before people began using their paper plates as fans in my tiny, overheated apartment.

I laid out a buffet table with various ingredients for filling the empanadas (chicken, beef, cheese, tomato, act…), and all 25 attendees were given the opportunity to come and make their own creations! With the help of a few native Argentine girls (Valeria and Elvira), everyone was shown how to properly stuff and close the empanada dough and then they were sent into the oven for baking!

The following recipe is a very Traditional Argentine Beef Empanada filling, showed to me by my very dear cleaning lady. The one below it, is a spicy “Gringo” version of that recipe, as adapted by myself. I recommend using Saltena empanada shells (or Goya, if you are in the US), rather than wasting time on homemade ones.

Traditional Argentine Beef Empanada Filling:

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) of lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped

{ To Make the Filling } Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and kosher salt. Sautee until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the ground beef, breaking it up with back of a spoon. Add the cumin and beef bullion. Cover pot with a lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Mix beef, stirring in scallions and chopped olives. Once the meat is cooked through, remove from heat and fold in chopped egg. Allow to cool and then use for empanada or taco filling.

“Gringo” Spicy Beef Empanada Filling:

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) of lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 1 yukon potato, boiled and chopped small

{ To Make the Filling } Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppers, and kosher salt. Sautee until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the ground beef, breaking it up with back of a spoon. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, tomato puree and beef bullion. Cover pot with a lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Mix beef, stirring in scallions and chopped olives. Once the meat is cooked through, stir in chopped potato and remove from heat. Allow to cool and then use for empanada or taco filling.

**I like my meat extra spicy, so I also added a couple of dashes of Cholula Hot Sauce while cooking!

Spicy Shredded Chicken Empanada Filling:

{ Ingredients }

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
  • Slice Jalapeños (optional)

{ To Make the Filling } Place chicken breasts in a large stock pot, adding enough water to cover the meat. Heat over a medium-high flame, allowing to simmer until cooked through.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, before beginning to shred chicken (using hands or two forks).

In a large stock pot of a medium high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and sautee until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, green onion, kosher salt, chicken stock, and 1/2 cup of the tomato puree. Return the shredded chicken to the stock pot and stir to combine (if the meat needs more moisture, add more of the tomato puree).

Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and use to as empanada filling or taco meat!

{ To Assemble the Empanadas } Remove an empanada dough from the package and wet one half of the pastry edge using a finger dipped in water. Spoon a your desired filling into the middle and fold over the ends (so moist end meets dry end), pinching hard to ensure that they are properly shut.

Then crimp the edges using a fork or your fingers, as we have done here:

Place onto a greased baking sheet and allow to bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until the edges and tops are golden brown (about 10 minutes).

Remove from oven and enjoy!

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{ Thin Crust Pizza Dough }

On my 15th birthday I remember looking over my cake and saying “just one more year till I start driving dad!!” Without flinching my dad responded, “Ohh yeah? In what car sweetie? You’re mother and I certainly aren’t buying you one!”

And that’s how I got my start in the restaurant business.

I needed a car and so I needed a job. Within the week I started working at a little gourmet pizza shop near my house called Jules Thin Crust. I was one of the first employees when it opened, and watched it grow into a local favorite hotspot over the four years that I worked there. Their pizza is truly delicious and very unique in topping and presentation. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any other pizza that even resembles the flavors of Jules Thin Crust and so out of necessity I decided to start making my own imitation pizza. I experimented with several different types of dough over the past year, and think that I have finally found the ultimate thin crust pizza dough recipe. It crisps up beautifully on the bottom (even on a plain baking sheet), yet stays soft on the side under the sauce. And best yet, it is super easy to make….just takes some pre-planning because it needs to proof over night!

As far as the toppings go, I like to get creative and make the pizza look pretty (I stole a lot of my presentation ideas from the pizza place I worked at!). But definitely use a variety of cheeses, the more the better. I like to combine fresh mozzarella, aged mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan. The Two pizzas that I have photographed are my Margarita Pizza (fresh mozzarella and provolone white base with sliced tomato, minced garlic, and basil garnish) and Eggplant Pizza (homemade tomato sauce, aged mozzarella, thin sliced eggplant, cubes of fresh mozzarella, and arugala). I also love to make a Honey Garlic Pizza, which is a thin layer of honey for the base, topped with minced garlic and then a generous layer of fresh mozzarella cheese. This pizza may seem strange, but it is so surprisingly good. The sweetness of the honey balances out with the saltiness of the cheese in a great way. It is just a little messy on your baking pans if you use too much honey because it will overflow when it heats up, so don’t put too much on!

{ Ingredients }

  • 4 ½ cups unbleached high-gluten, or all-purpose flour, chilled
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (rapid rise)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cup ice cold water
  • Semolina flour or cornmeal

{ To Make Pizza Dough }

Put the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer and allow to chill in fridge for 10-15 min. Then stir in the salt and instant yeast. With the mixer on low speed (fitted with paddle attachment) stir in the olive oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed. Then switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. It is very important that the dough not stick to the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom. In order to create this consistency, you make need to add more ice water (tablespoon or two) to make the dough tackier or add more flour to make it firmer. The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.

Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer dough to counter. Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces, dipping the scraper into water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking. Sprinkle flour over the dough and then list each piece and round into a ball (make sure that your hands are dry and flour them). Transfer the dough balls to a plate or baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil. Then mist the dough balls with oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough (you must do this), or keep for up to three days.

On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on well-floured counter surface. Dust your hands with flour and gently press (or roll) the dough into a flattened disk about ¼-½ inch think. Then put pizza dough onto a baking sheet that has been generously dusted with cornmeal or semolina flour and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour before cooking.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven as hot as possible (mine only goes to 400 and that worked just fine), and put your topped pizza into the oven, cooking for about 8-10 minutes. Since the cook time depends on the amount of toppings that you have chosen and the temperature that your oven will reach, check on it very frequently to see when it appears done.

When cooked to your satisfaction, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. You want the cheese to rest before you cut the pizza, or it will just slide off.

**Remember when topping your pizza that basil turns black in the oven, so put the basil on after the pizza has cooked and cooled slightly**

Margarita Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Tomatoes, Minced Garlic, and Basil

Eggplant Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Organic Tomato Sauce, Parmesan, and Basil

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Filed under Recipes