Cha’s Empanadas

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One of my favorite things to cook (and eat) are empanadas. They’re honestly super easy to make even though there are many steps to it. I may sound biased but Caribbean empanadas are my absolute favorite. South American empanadas are slightly different, but still tasty. They use a corn flour dough and are baked. In the Caribbean, we fry everything!

Empanadas can be an appetizer or great finger food if you’re hosting a party.  They can also be stuffed with pretty much anything. Puerto Ricans usually fill them with beef, chicken, shrimp or cheese. Some fill them with a slice of boiled egg as well, but of course that’s optional.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of ground beef (or any ground meat you prefer)
  • 1 pack of Goya discs
  • 1/2 envelope of Goya Sazon
  • 2 table spoons of Goya Recaito
  • Adobo, salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheese and/or a boiled egg (optional)

Seasoning the meat should be first. In a pan over medium heat, let the recaito cook for about 2 minutes and let it cover the entire pan. Add the meat, sazon, adobo, salt and pepper and let the meat fully cook.

When the meat is done cooking, you’re ready to make the empanadas! Starting off with one disc, you can fit about 2 tablespoons of ground meat on to the disc. If you decide to add an egg or cheese, you will put it on top of your meat. For this post, I used boiled eggs.

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Next, you’ll fold over the disc in half and press down the edges and seal it with a fork.

 

Once this step is all done, heat up a frying pan with oil and begin frying the empanadas until they are golden brown on each side. Drain the oil out by placing the cooked empanadas on plate with a paper towel. When all are done, the only thing left to do is eat and enjoy!

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Puerto Rican Pasteles

This typical Puerto Rican dish probably is the most fascinating food I have ever tried. At first, I didn’t like it even though all the ingredients were very familiar to me. Nevertheless, after I tried many more times, or I should say after I tried my mother-in-law’s pasteles, I began to like it and very much enjoy it. This year, in memory of my mother-in-law, I and my daughter made it the way she taught me. Typically, this dish is eaten during the holiday season and is very similar to what most know as tamales. I share this recipe with you all.  Happy Cooking!!

For this dish, you will need to make sofrito, a cooking base used in many Latin American dishes.

Ingredients:

SOFRITO

Blend green pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, recaito in the blender.

FILLING

  • 1 cup of chop meat (pork or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup of alcaparado (chop green olives)
  • 3 spoonfuls of sofrito

Sautee meat until light brown and add sofrito and alcaparado. Add garbanzo beans when the meat is cooked. Let it cool.

PASTELES INGEDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of shredded plantain (green banana)
  • ½ cup of shredded pumpkin
  • ½ cup of shredded white yautia
  • ½ cup of carnation milk
  • ½ cup of achote oil (mix achote seed and oil, heat it up in low heat)
  • 1 small envelope of sazon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red roasted pepper (canned)
  • Paper (banana leaves is good too. It adds flavor).
  • Cooking string to tie

Use wooden spoon or spatula to mix all Pasteles ingredients. It should be a very smooth mixture and nice shiny light orange color. It is ready to be wrapped.

On a piece of paper, put a dollop of the pasteles mixture, a generous amount of meat with its juice and a slice of roasted red pepper. Fold the paper and tie it with string.

To cook, place the pasteles in boiling salted water for about 45 minutes. Pasteles goes well with simple white rice or with rice and gandules.

Freeze extra batch for future consumption.