My boys just love empanadas, and I used to make them only occasionally, because we don't like to eat fried foods. One of my friends told me that she bakes hers, making them much healthier. So, I tweaked my recipe and began baking them! I think my family loves these even more than when I fried them. Needless to say, we are eating them more often, too. Here is my recipe, feel free to adjust seasonings and ingredients to suit your taste. I use different types of filling, depending on what's on sale, what I have on hand, and who is going to be eating them. You can use either ground filling, or shredded. For a tasty treat, use cream cheese or marscapone with a spoonful of guava paste or jam as a filling. YUMMY!!!!!
I use empanada disks that can be found in the freezer section, with the Mexican/Spanish foods. Make sure they are defrosted when you begin to prepare the filling.
For the filling:
There are many options here. I use shredded or ground beef, chicken, or pork (whatever I have on hand ). Brown about 1 ½ pounds of meat in a skillet on medium heat. Add a chopped onion and a diced cooked potato. Season to taste with adobo, 1 packet of sazon, garlic, red pepper flakes/hot sauce. Sometimes I add a can of black beans to the ground beef. Whatever you like in your empanada…..now is the time to season it to taste!
Cooking: I have been baking my empanadas recently so that they are a healthier option than fried ones. They taste yummy baked, but it is your choice!
Fill each empanada shell with cooled filling mixture. Add a few spoonfuls to once half of the disk. Fold the disk into a semi-circle and pinch the edges together to seal. You need to experiment to see how much filling to use. If you are deep frying…use less filling so that the shell doesn’t open in the oil. If you are baking, you can fill the shells with more meat, they won’t open during baking.
BAKE: preheat oven to 350 oven. Place uncooked empanadas on a baking stone (or greased cookie sheet) and spray with cooking spray (or an egg wash). Sprinkle adobo over top of each empanada for a little extra zip! Bake approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Set deep fryer at 350 and add 2-3 empanadas at a time. FRY until golden brown. Place on paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
Serve warm from the oven!
If you want to make a big batch and freeze, follow the recipe to make the empanadas. Freeze them before you cook them by putting them into the freezer for about an hour on a cookie sheet and cover with foil. Do not spray with cooking spray before freezing. Once they are hard, put into a freezer bag or container and freeze until you are ready to use.