Empanadas Aiki Style

Recently we had two different sets of guests here at the homestead.

First up we had visitors that had been at the homestead in it’s earliest days – my friend’s two daughters returned to experience a Canadian winter after having spent the past year or two in Paraguay – lucky them!  They arrived just in time to experience an extended period of -30 degree weather!  Needless to say, we played loads of video games, although they did get a chance to try out our sledding hill in the ravine, as well as our nightly walks up and down our laneway.

The day they arrived, we stopped at a large grocery store and I quizzed them on their favourite foods.  F! suggested that empanadas were her current favourite, and amazingly, we found a tray of them shortly afterwards and brought it home to enjoy.

I had never had them before; they seem like a meat pie with “Latin American”? spices.  I liked them very much!

Last week my sister arrived to visit (after many hiccoughs due to poor weather around Toronto) and while the weather was better suited to some outdoor activities, we also continued to explore and enjoy the retropie gaming console that Kenny and I had assembled a few months ago.  She got us hooked on Kirby’s Avalanche!  It’s sure to be a big hit at our weekly coding/tech club.

She also took an active role in our menu, and introduced us to using crescent roll dough in a tube to create our own edible treats – in her case, she wrapped a chunk of apple and created a dessert pastry.  It was so easy and good that I added the dough in a tube to our next shopping list.

She also convinced me to give faux meat products another chance – I purchased some “mexican ground round” Yves brand loaf, and she made it into a delicious nacho grande type of bake.  I had actually purchased two of these loaves, so the next sunny day after she left, I prepared a slow cooker full of veggie chili using it as the substitute for the ground beef or chicken that I usually made it with.

We ended up having lots of the chili left over, and that’s when it occurred to me that maybe I could combine these ideas into my own style of empanada!

First we assembled the ingredients – all three of them.  Dough, cheese and chili.

Dough tube, cheese and chili.

At first I tried to wrap them into triangles, but that just looked deformed.

First a little cheese.
Then some chili.

My shapely dumplings leave something to be desired.
When I switched to folding over the rectangles of dough, that worked much better.  I believe that officially you are to separate the dough into triangles and then roll them up into the crescents, but in this case, I wanted to enclose more fillings, so I left them as rectangles.

The next ones I did rectangles – you can still see the perforations in the dough where it would be further divided into triangles.

A full pan!

I crowded eight of these bad boys onto our frying pan, which I had generously greased with some vegetable oil.

The pan before loading up with my pastries – lots of oil.  More than needed likely.
I popped them into the oven for twenty minutes at “around” four hundred Fahrenheit, and then just opened the oven door so they could stay warm until Mama got home.

Toasty, warm goodness!

Kenny, unsurprisingly, had his plain, but said he really liked them.

Mama ate two with loads of salsa slathered on top.

I spread mine with some Caesar salad dressing and generous dollops of green Tabasco, and it was excellent!

I doubt if these are really very close to an authentic empanada, but whatever they were – they were very tasty, and a great way to use up some leftovers!  I wonder what else I could stuff into them for future meals…  Or more importantly, would F! eat them?

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