Oh… sometimes you just have to try a new recipe. And… well.. sometimes you make it once, take a picture for your blog, and then spend the next week dreaming about the next time you get to make it. It was that tasty. Next time, I think I’ll try baking these empanadas – but dang… the fried version was wonderful.
Rick Bayless inspired these empanadas. He’s an amazing chef who spent many, many years studying the many different regional cooking styles in Mexico. The flavors he imparts into the food with the methods are amazing. All of his cookbooks do an incredible job of teaching about the food, ingredients, culture and offer adaptations. I think we own every single one of his books. We frequently check the local bookstores to see if he has made another one. Yeap. We’re Rick-Bayless Groupies. (Ok, *I* am. I don’t think my love would make the same claim, but I know he likes the food as well as Rick’s TV Show.)
To make the empanadas, make sure you have some time to do it. While this takes a while, the end-results were worth it for me. I think this is an interesting process. The next time we have a cooking party, I will make these with our friends/family. Actually, the more I think about this, the more I think I need to plan a “Let’s Make Tamales and Empanadas Together” Party. Boy! That would be fun! We could sit and chat while making these and then everyone could go home with part of the bounty for their families! OH OH OH – Hmmm… I wonder….. do you think this sounds like a good idea?
I know the empanadas were tasty enough for me to be thinking of them over and over again since I made them! I know I will have to try to make these again sometime soon – that’s for sure! The more the merrier, right?
2-3 plantains, semi-ripe
1 cup GF flour mix
1/2 teaspoon salt (don’t add the salt if using broth)
1/4 – 1/2 cup warm water or warm chicken broth (don’t add salt if using broth)
1 cup queso fresco
2 teaspoons minced fresh herbs of your choosing (cilantro, parsley, etc)
- Slice open each plantain with one, long slit length-wise. Lay on foil or parchment paper and bake at 400F for 35-45 minutes until slightly seeping. Once cool enough to handle, peel the plantains and leave the plantain “meat” in a bowl to cool a bit longer.
- Once the plantains have cooled, process the plantain “meat” in a food processor until finely ground/flour-like. Add the GF flour mix and pulse until well blended.
- Add warm water/warm broth by the tablespoon while pulsing until a semi-soft dough forms (the same consistency as making tortillas).
- Divide the dough into 16 small pieces.
- Using a tortilla press – or a rolling pin, press/roll each small piece into a round disk no thicker than 1/4″. When making the rounds, use a cut open Ziploc bag – or similar style plastic bag. Cut the bag so that three sides are open but one is still attached. Put the dough ball on one side of the ziplock and then lay the other side on top. Then roll/press. The thickness of the Ziploc bag will last much longer than parchment paper or wax paper and make it easier to fill the empanada.
- Mix together the fresh herbs/seasonings of your choosing in a small bowl.
- Fill each flattened disk with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of queso fresco (be sure not to overfill!) by placing the cheese on one side. Fold the other side over the top and seal the empanada by pressing the dough together firmly. Be sure to fill or press together any parts of the dough that open accidentally. Lay aside filled/sealed empanadas until you have finished filling them all.
- Preheat the oven to 200F and heat a generous amount of oil (I used about 1 1/2″ of vegetable oil in a deep 3 quart pan) until a small amount of leftover dough will begin to fry easily when placed into the oil.
- Fry the empanadas in small batches (of 3-4) until golden brown (3-4 minutes) then flip and continue frying for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil with slotted spoon/tongs and lay on paper towels in an ovenproof dish. Place the finished empanadas in the heated/warm oven to keep them warm until serving time.
I know this one is a bit of work, but I’m really glad I tried this recipe. I will make these again and again.