Lotsa empanadas

When you make empanadas, a century’s old Hispanic dish, we suggest that you ask a guapo fellow named Santiago to help you out.We did and the result was muy delicioso.

The recipe for the very first empanadas dates back to a Spanish cookbook published in 1520, but our recipe was even more special. It came from Santiago’s mother.

The beauty of the empanada is that you can fill it with almost anything. You could call it a meat pie but we won’t as our son/brother Vinnie played the bird seller in Sweeney Todd one year and turned us off of that phrase for life.

But we digress.

For our dinner, which turned into a fiesta, as all authentic Hispanic meals tend to be, we ate chicken, pork, and dessert empanadas along with queso dip, guacamole, and Mexican Rice.

Then we sat at the table with our guests and chatted digested for a nice long time.

To make the empanadas, you can use a pie crust recipe like the one Molly featured here, or you could just use store-bought crust like Pillsbury’s All Ready Pie Crust.

The fillings included a chicken variety, seasoned with cumin, chili powder, lemon juice, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and cooked with carrots, onions and mushrooms that had been sautéed in butter with chili pepper and flour.

The pork version included the vegetables, along with taco seasoning and Cayenne pepper.

Lastly, for dessert, Santiago whipped up a blueberry, strawberry and chocolate chip confection that was sprinkled with cinnamon.

Here’s a little clip from Santiago’s mom, Berta. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe for Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

2 cups of uncooked rice
1/3 cup of chopped onions
1/3 cup of chopped tomatoes without seeds
2 Tbs. oil
3 cups of chicken broth
1 tsp. of cumin (add more depending on your personal preference)

1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper or more
1 clove of chopped garlic
2 Tbs. tomato paste (add the tomato paste to the chicken broth mix well)
Optional spices: 1/4 cup of chopped jalapeno, 1/2 tsp. of chipotle or cayenne pepper

1. In a large frying pan, cook the rice in 2 Tbs. of oil on medium heat. Stir often and
just brown it lightly because it will keep on browning when you add the onions and tomatoes.
2. Add the chopped onions and sauté with rice
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté with rice too
4. Add the spices and continue to sauté

5. Add the broth to the rice and allow it to boil and cover lower the heat to low and just let cook for 20 minutes
Do not uncover until the timer goes off. Turn the heat off and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the top, fluff up the rice and you are ready to eat.

A post-meal shot of the youngsters — here is Vinnie, Molly, our chefs Santiago and Katherine, and our guest Heidi.
Toast the raw rice in oil to give it that extra nutty flavor.
You cut the dough in circles — Katerine and Santi used a bowl — fill them, fold them over, crimp them with a fork, prick them and brush with an egg wash.
Badger hat with a Packer apron, this Chef has some excellent taste!
This is what the Mexican Rice looks like just before you serve it.
I took a picture of my plate just before I dug in. What you see here is a chicken empanada, a pork empanada with guacamole on top and the Mexican Rice.
My mom and Katherine’s lifelong friend Heidi joined us for the fiesta.
This is the dessart empanada. Oh man, it was delicious. We burnt our tongues.

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