Of all of the things I miss about Paraguay, this is near the top of the list: Empanadas! They’re available all over the place in Paraguay. You can buy them from Don Vito’s in the mall food court, or take a break from running errands to enjoy one at the Lido Bar downtown or from a street corner food cart. Pick up a few at a rest stop on a road trip to the Chaco, or bring some home from the grocery store.
While empanadas are a littler harder to come by here in Wisconsin, thankfully they are a taste of Paraguay that can be made from home.
|Elsie’s first bite of “undonado” (empanda)|
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Paraguayan Beef Empanadas.
– 1 lb Ground Beef
– 1 medium Onion, diced
– 2 cloves Garlic, crushed or finely chopped
– 1 egg (hard boiled)
– Salt & Pepper
– 12 Empanada Shells (1 pkg “Tapas para Empanadas” – available at most Mexican grocery stores; or homemade shells see recipe at the end of this post)
Chop a hard boiled egg and add it to the beef mixture.
Add salt and pepper to taste, along with a generous amount of cumin. Gosh, I love that spice.
Just like that, the filling is ready is ready to go!
Now for the shells… Premade empanada shells are able at our local grocery store (Woodman’s!) in the Latin food section, and can also be found at most Mexican grocery stores. They come frozen, but thaw quickly and are then ready to use. Using the premade shells simplifies the whole meal are flaky and delicious. However, because it irks me when I look at a recipe for something and one of the “ingredients” is a premade something-or-other (for example: Cookie Dough Bars with one of the listed ingredients being a tub of cookie dough. Uh, hello?! I thought this was a recipe?!), I will also include the recipe for Homemade Empanada Shells at the end of this post.
|My empanada shells and filling, ready to go!|
To fill the shells, place a nice ol’ scoop of filling in the center of the shell. Use your fingers to press the edges of the dough together, creating a tight seal. (If it’s having any trouble sticking together, you can dip your finger in water and rub it around the inside edge of the dough.)
Use a fork to press around the edge of the empanada.
Repeat until all of your shells are filled (or your run out of meat!) This time I actually had a little filling left over, and will put it over lunch and enjoy it for lunch! The filling can also be frozen and saved for a later date.)
And now the fun really begins. Fry those babies! (Empanadas can also be baked, but… why would you do that?!) Heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When it’s nice and hot, carefully lower the empanadas into the oil. Allow them to cook on the first side until golden brown, and then flip over.
Enjoy with ketchup or hot sauce. We ate them for supper last night with sides of rice, green beans, and Sopa Paraguaya (cheesy cornbread… I will post the recipe for it soon!)
|Beef Empanadas & Sopa Paraguaya|
Homemade Empanada Shells
5 cups Flour
1/4 cup Oil
1-1/8 cup Ice Water
1 tsp Salt
Mix together to make biscuit-like dough. Divide into egg-sized balls and roll until 1/4″ thick. Fill with about 1 tablespoon of filling. Seal. Fry.