Empanadas are a favorite in Trinidad and Tobago, where we still have a very vibrant Spanish influence, especially in our cooking. Without a doubt we see it in it’s splendor during Christmas time but what about during the course of the year? In what way could we see this influence in our cooking? Easy, you just have to look at the picture below to see the influence…
The Delight of Eating Empanadas
Empanadas are truly a throw back into the past when it comes to our Spanish influenced dishes. Although, not a very common occurrence in our day to day cooking, empanadas are always part of the menu when it comes to festivities. In my hometown it is always served together with other pastries for our church functions. And, it is the first thing I go for when I get my little “box of pastries”….Sponge cake step aside! That meat filling really hits the spot every time.
A bit of research had me perusing the many and varied types of Empanadas all through Latin America to Spain and as far as the Philippines. In all the different varieties I saw the different culinary signature of the country being utilized in the recipe but the ingredients were essentially the same: A meat filling wrapped in a dough. And it did not stop there…There were also vegan empanadas and its many related “cousins” like samosas and pastry pies.
Anyhow, As part of the exchange in our culinary melting pot here in Trinidad, the Empanada came here as a Spanish or Venezuelan ……. but it left as a Trini.
Here’s Empanadas Trinistyle Recipe.
1 pound of minced beef
2 – 3 tbsp green seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
16 leaves chadon beni, chopped finely
2 pimento peppers, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup Promasa cornflour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp oil
3 cups warm water
2 tbsp. oil for rolling dough balls
oil for frying
Prepare the filling:
Next, prepare the cornmeal dough:
Note: We chose two types because we like the texture of the dough with this combination, but you can prepare your dough with any type of cornmeal, preferably the Promasa or a refined corn flour like the Promasa brand. The Promasa brand is a fine textured cornmeal that makes dough very smooth and easy to mold.
(Note: You can also bake your empanadas in a 250 degree F oven for about 25 minutes. However, first, line the tray with greased wax paper, place the empanadas in the tray carefully, and finally brush the empanadas with a little oil. You will also have to turn the empanadas within 10-15 minutes of placing in the oven. Bake until brown.)
And, for heavens sake don’t do like me, who couldn’t wait, and burn your tongue lol! 🙂
Yield: 15 empanadas
That’s it for another Trini recipe. See you soon.
P.S. As you would have noticed by the ingredients used, this empanada recipe has no flour (gluten), so it will also do well for those with allergies to gluten (GFCF)