Call them what you will, I guess the dough is a basic Empanada dough but I like to do a more French Canadian Tourtiere filling. So call them Hand Pies, or Empanadas and fill them with whatever you have on hand and I guarantee you that everyone will be happy and no one will care what the hell you call them as long as you make them again. I made three fillings last night because I’m stupid like that and I had odds and ends hanging around that I could use. I did a roasted cauliflower, onion and cheddar, a ground beef and cheddar (for the small people) and a tourtiere (ground pork, onion, potatoes, cinnamon) in honor of my proximity to Montreal and my youth selling Meat Pies at Deslauriers Bakery in Woonsocket, RI. You could also do a roasted chicken and pea filling, a pulled pork filling, a cilantro and pork filling… really anything you can think of or find in your fridge.
Empanada Dough: makes 24 (enough for 6 people or dinner for 4 and lunch for them the next day)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup lard, bacon drippings or shortening (or combo of all)
- 1 package yeast
- 2 1/2 -3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt (omit if using bacon drippings)
- Put milk in a microwavable container and microwave until warm, add shortening/lard and butter. Or put milk in a pan and heat until warm then add shortening/lard and butter and stir until melted.
- When milk and melted lard mixture is between 105-115 degrees add yeast and let stand 10 minutes.
- Measure out dry ingredients (starting with 2 1/2 cups flour and adding more if needed) in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Add wet into dry and mix well until mixture forms a ball. Transfer to counter and knead until smooth and pliable.
- Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Punch dough down and roll it into a long log. Cut into 24 sections and roll the pieces into balls. One at a time, roll each ball into a circle around 4″.
- Spoon filling on 1/2 of dough and fold dough over sealing edges with fingers, move to lined cookie sheet and use a fork to crimp.
- When cookie sheet is full brush pillows of loveliness with an egg wash, prick top with the fork and bake for 15 minutes
and there you have it, add a salad or even better, throw some cut up carrots and cucumbers on the table and don’t even bother with silverware! I like mine with a side of sweet chili sauce, my husband likes a mango hot sauce and I’m sure some kids might like ketchup but mine eat them too fast to stop for any dipping… because they’re animals.