I'm not quite sure how I came across it, but I found this gal's food blog, What's Cooking Chicago, about a week ago. There's lots of great stuff on here, but one thing in particular caught my eye: empanadas. I've always loved empanadas, but I've never made them, mostly because they seemed like a lot of work.
On Joelen's blog, however, I realized empanada making was made easy by pre-made dough rounds. The day I saw the blog post, I happened to be going to a local Mexican grocery store, El Rey, and knew I could find them there. I was right!
Last Friday, Nate and I decided to make them. We followed Joelen's recipe fairly closely, except that we added some spice: a jalapeno and a habanero. Also, we didn't add the chicken broth. I thought it might make it too soupy, making it hard to make the dough pockets. Otherwise, everything was the same. However, we seemed to have extra stuffing, even though we rolled out the dough rounds a bit.
We used up all the dough and still had beef and veggies left over. We put them in a Tupperware and will use them to make tacos tomorrow night.
The empanadas were super, super good. Even though they were baked, they were still crispy. The only thing I would change for this particular recipe is to add more cheese, or small chunks of cheese. You couldn't really taste the shredded cheese. I think chunks would work better.
When we make these again, I think it'd be fun to make up whatever you want for the stuffing. You could make them veggie with peppers and beans, or, like I've had at restaurants, with spinach and cheese. You could really do just about anything with them!
For a side, we mixed it up a bit and made baked plantains using this recipe. They turned out pretty good and tasted good, but I don't think they were quite as ripe as they should have been for the recipe.
However, I would definitely make plantains again. This was our first time using them, and I'd love to try different recipes.
We made some guacamole to snack on while we cooked, too, and topped the empanadas with the guac.