EMPANADAS

Makes 10 depending on size of pastry used. Any meat can be used for this recipe, just be sure to cut it up into tiny pieces.

Ingredients

1/2 cup shortening , 2 onions, chopped 1 pound ground beef , 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika, 3/4 teaspoon hot paprika, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped, 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped, salt to taste

1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

Directions

1 In a saute; pan melt the shortening and add the chopped onions. Cook the onions until just before they begin to turn golden. Remove from the heat and stir in the sweet paprika, hot paprika, crushed red pepper flakes and salt to taste.

2 Spread the meat on a sieve and pour boiling water on it for partial cooking. Allow meat to cool. Place meat in a dish add salt to taste, cumin and vinegar. Mix and add the meat to the onion mixture. Mix well and place on a flat to dish to cool and harden.

3 Cut puff pastry dough into 10 round shells. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture on each round; add some of the raisins, olives and hard boiled egg. Avoid reaching the edges of the pastry with the filling because its oiliness will prevent good sealing. Slightly wet the edge of the pastry, fold in two and stick edges together. The shape should resemble that of a half-moon. You should have a 2/3 to 1/2 inch flat edge of pastry to work with. Seal by twisting edge, step by step,between thumb and index finger, making sure to add pressure before releasing the pinch and moving on to the next curl. Other sealing procedures like pinching without curling or using a fork to seal will not prevent juice leaks during baking, and empanadas must be juicy.

4 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place empanadas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Be sure to prick each empanada with a fork near the curl to allow steam to escape during baking. Glaze with egg for shine and bake until golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Spinach Empanadas

Pastry

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened, 3/4 cup butter, softened, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,1/2 tsp salt

Filling: 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, 1 tbs bacon drippings, 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 egg, beaten

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.(Use a stand mixer, since the mixture is heavy.) Gradually add in the flour and salt. Lightly knead the dough by hand. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.In a medium skillet, cook the onion and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is tender but not brown. Mix in the bacon, spinach, cottage cheese, pepper, and nutmeg; let the mixture cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut 3-inch circles in the pastry, place 1 teaspoon of the filling in each circle, just to one side of the center. Moisten the edge of the circle with the egg, fold the dough in half over the filling to make a semicircular empanada. Seal the edges with fork tines, and poke the top of each pastry with a fork to make a vent. Put the empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet, brush their tops with egg, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Makes 60 empanadas.

TURNOVERS: Empanadas o Pasteles

Ingredients

1 package Discos (frozen turnover dough), 1/2 lb. ground Beef, 1 tbsp. Olive Oil, 2 tbsp.Spanish Sofrito, 1/4 cup of Spanish Tomato Sauce, 2 cloves garlic chopped,1/2 onion, diced. A touch of black pepper, 1 boiled egg (Optional), 1/2 tsp. oregano and parsley.

Stuffed Olives, Oil for frying

1. In a Pan, heat Olive oil on medium.

2. Add the beef and cook until browned. Lower the heat, stir the remaining ingredients, except discos, and frying them. Cooked together for about 15 minutes

3. Make the shape of empanadas rolling the discos out to about 1/2-inch larger

4. Fill the empanada with about 1 tbsp. of the meat mixture, fold over; moisten edges and seal with a fork

5. In a deep saucepan heat the oil and fry empanadas until turning to brown on both sides.

6. Drain on paper towels