Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Corn, Black Beans & Beef Empanadas

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It's quite a convenience to have a freezer stocked with food... especially when you have guests coming over with little time to prepare! I made these Corn, Black Beans & Beef Empanadas in advance and baked them up for out of town guests and friends that came to visit. They were a hit and sadly I have no leftovers to enjoy... so I guess that means I'll have to make more very soon!...

Empanadas are a great snack and can be filled with pretty much anything. This version is filled with beef, corn black beans and some cheese, making them a meal all in itself! Growing up, empanadas were a special treat since they were time consuming to prepare. The empanadas I had growing up were also deep fried which wasn't exactly healthy and dealing with a deep fryer can be a pain. But I came across this recipe from Cook's Illustrated that made it much more approachable. These are baked but after having one, you wouldn't know the difference. The trick to baking them up crispy is a quick brush of oil on the top of the empanadas and preheating a baking sheet and drizzling it with oil ensured the underside of the crust got as crispy as the top. A bonus was that these can be made in advance and baked from frozen!


Corn, Black Beans & Beef Empanadas
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Filling
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup taco shredded cheese blend

1 package empanada dough rounds


To make the filling, heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic until softened. Add the corn, black beans, cumin, cayenne, and cloves and cook until fragrant. Crumble the beef into the pan and brown. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze and transfer the beef mixture to a bowl; cool.

Stir in the cilantro leaves into the beef mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cool completely in the refrigerator. Once cooled completely, fold in the cheese.

To assemble the empanadas, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a large baking sheet in the oven. Using the premade empanada dough, place 1/3 cup of filling mixture in the center of each dough round. Brush the edges of the dough with water and fold dough over the filling. Press the edges to seal and crimp the edges using a fork.

To bake, drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the surface of the large preheated baking sheet and then return to the oven for 2 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the empanadas onto the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the empanadas with oil. Place the baking sheet of empanadas in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until well browned and crisp. Cool empanadas on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the empanadas as directed above. Once assembled, place empanadas in a gallon sized freezer bag in one layer. Remove any excess air from the bag and freeze flat. When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a large baking sheet in the oven. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the surface of the large preheated baking sheet and then return to the oven for 2 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the frozen empanadas onto the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the empanadas with oil. Place the baking sheet of frozen empanadas in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until well browned and crisp. Cool empanadas on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve.

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