Empanadas de Maiz
(Makes about 12)
Instagram Video Instructions: #hthwithrecipes #hthwithempanadas
Empanadas de Maiz are little pockets of *whatever* you want, wrapped in a delicious layer of corn masa, or dough. They fry up crispy on the outside and have a delightful texture on the inside. I started making them because I really needed something other than tacos to feed the family while still being able to use the staples I typically have; leftover meat, Maseca, salsa, oil.) They are similar to tacos in terms of flavor but the presentation is so fun and different that everyone thinks we’re having something new and exciting! I guess there’s just something about any kind of food in the shape of a pocket. J
We usually fill them with leftover shredded pork or chicken, but you can use whatever meat you have and want to use. You can take leftover chicken, pork, beef, ground turkey or any other filling you want, season it with the salsa recipe in this book or your favorite red or green sauce. Any filling you use will need to be cooked down so that it’s not too wet. You want it moist but not liquidy, otherwise it will soak through the masa. Think ground beef taco meat…flavorful, moist, with a little bit of a sauce but not dripping out of your tortilla. No matter what filling you use, that’s what you’re going for! Herdez brand salsas make some pretty great green sauces for chicken and pork. (They often have coupons on their bottles or online for added savings.) I would use a tomato or red chili based sauce for red meats.
Once you’ve made your filling, set it aside to cool to room temp. If the filling is warm, it will basically melt the masa and leave you with holes in your empanadas before you even get to fry them!
2 cups Maseca or other Corn Masa Flour (cornmeal or corn flour will not work. You need masa intended for making tortillas.)
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water (you may need a little more)
½ tsp salt
3 cups filling of your choice
Oil for frying
Tortilla press or a glass pie pans if you don’t have a press
Plastic (either a ziplock cut down the sides to make a long piece of plastic or a grocery produce bag, which is my personal favorite)
Mix the Maseca and salt in a bowl. Add water. Mix until you have a nice cohesive dough. If the dough is sticky, add a little more masa. If its dry, add a little water, a tsp at a time, until smooth. Divide into 12 pieces.
If using a press, line with plastic of your choice. Place a ball of dough in the center of the plastic, fold the plastic over the top of the ball, and press. Put a 2-3 tablespoons of filling in the center of the flattened masa. Using one side of the plastic, fold the masa over itself to envelop the filling. Press around the edges with your fingers, through the plastic, until fully sealed. Peel back plastic, remove the empanada and set aside on another piece of plastic or wax paper. Do not stack them or put them on another surface as they will likely stick. Search #hthwithrecipes and #hthwithempanadas on Instagram for a video tutorial.
If using a glass pie pan, place a sheet of your plastic on the counter. Put the masa ball in the center of it. Top with another layer of plastic. Press the masa down between the plastic sheets, using the pie pan. By using a clear glass pan, you’ll be able to see when its nice and flat. Use the plastic to fold the empanada over itself, pressing through the plastic to seal. Search #hthwithrecipes and #hthwithempanadas on Instagram for a video tutorial.
Once you’re done preparing them, add enough oil to a heavy bottomed skillet to come up about 1/3 of the way. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Once oil is about 350*, carefully fry the empanadas on each side, until golden. About 2 on each side. P.S., I don’t temp my oil. I place the corner of an empanada in the oil, and if it sizzles we go for it. Ha! If the empanadas start to brown too quickly, reduce heat. If the oil doesn’t seem to be cooking them quickly enough, increase heat just a bit.
Once they are golden on both sides, remove and set on paper towels or cooling rack over a plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
Serve with sour cream, salsa (recipe for both in “building blocks” chapter) or any other dipping sauce you enjoy! Here’s a tip: Blend together the sour cream, salsa and an avocado for an awesome, nutritious cream sauce!
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