In almost every Colombian home they make empanadas differently!
This recipe that I want to share with you is inspired in the recipe of my grandmother Graciela, who made the BEST EMPANADAS IN THE WORLD! :P Every time she made them it was a super event in the family, and of course, we all happily went to eat them every time. The original recipe has two types of meat (pork and beef). The version I am sharing with you today uses ground beef because it is faster to make since I am in Germany and that means going to get the meat in advance...
You can also stuff them with shredded meat and potatoes. I left the step by step recipe for the shredded beef on my YouTube channel.
Empanadas are definitely my favorite Colombian food - followed by beans, seafood casserole, pandebono...shall I go on? In Colombia it's very easy to find empanadas on street stands, just like finding taco food trucks in Mexico. As it has happened to me with many Colombian recipes, I have learned to make empanadas while in Germany since they are not easily available here and there are few people who make them really yummy - in my opinion.
I make empanadas at hom in Berlin at least twice a year, and we literally eat them for 2-3 days in a row, a real commitment. :) You can also make them and freeze them raw, and then fry them directly.
Here the recipe:
500 gr of organic ground beef (you can use vegetable meat)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 large onion finely chopped
1 chopped tomato
Cumin to taste
1/2 tablespoon of turmeric powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3 large potatoes cut into very small cubes
2 tablespoons fresh or dried thyme (optional-but this is my grandmother's signature)
For the dough:
1/2 package of precooked corn flour (500gr) (see notes)
1 and a half tablespoons of salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Water at room temperature
In a hot frying pan with olive oil sauté in order: the onion, wait about 3 minutes, then add the garlic, then the paprika and the tomato. Then add the ground beef and the potatoes cut into small pieces. Stir and season with cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper and thyme.
When it boils, lower the heat and let it cook for about 10 minutes or until the potato is soft. Adjust the flavor to your liking. Let the meat cool a little before assembling the empanadas. You can also make the filling and then add the peeled and cooked potato. I made a video on YouTube some time ago making plantain montaditos, and you could also use that meat recipe to fill your empanadas.
For the dough: First add the flour, then the salt and stir. Gradually add the water at room temperature and the oil. Add the lemon juice and knead with your hands until you get a homogeneous consistency. If you notice that it is too dry, simply add a little more water and continue kneading. When the dough is ready, let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Different techniques are used to assemble the empanadas: You can flatten the dough with a pataconera or taquera, or use a rolling pin, flatten the dough and then with a plate or mold you shape it, add the filling, close and seal with your hands. Here is a video of how I assemble them, in this case making plantain empanadas.
Heat a frying pan with oil for frying. To know if the oil is ready, use a wooden spoon and introduce it to the bottom of the pan. if you notice bubbles coming out, you can fry the empanadas. You can also use the oven, just keep in mind that you must brush the empanadas with oil beforehand so that they do not get too dry or break, or they are also very good if you use an airfryer or air fryer.
In Germany I buy the "mehlig" baking potato, it is the best for making empanadas.
Remember to add the lemon juice to the dough to make the empanadas crispier.
If you live in Colombia, you will probably find it easier to get the authentic ground corn dough in the galleries (market places) where you live. The flavor will be even better and it comes ready to use. But if you live outside Colombia, and you can get yellow arepa dough brand Doñarepa that is the best for me, but if you can't find it, opt for PAN flour.
Once ready you can store the empanadas in a sealed container and keep them in the refrigerator for about 5 days, freeze them and you can heat them later in an oven or in the airfryer.
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