Every country has some type of filled food, dumpling, tamale, calzone, pasty or hand pie. No matter what you call them, what they are filled with or how they are shaped this is one of my favorite ways to explore food around the world. I like empanadas, the Latin version of a hand pie, they can be baked or fried, filled with meat, veggies, beans or tiny little shrimps like the ones I had from a road side stall in Puerto Rico. When making empanadas for a crowd I never consider frying them, hot oil schlopping around in a pan while the boat is rolling back and forth is a disaster waiting to happen, so my empanadas are always baked. The crust could go two ways, light and crisp with multiple layers from puff pastry or what I prefer is an altered pie dough, the end result is flakey but sturdy so it can be picked up and eaten by hand.
These empanadas are filled with a chili infused barbequed pulled pork, roasted poblano strips and a thick slice of mango. The warmth the pork provides plays well with the creamy sweetness of the mango while the poblano is a supporting role with it’s subtle smoky heat. Encasing the filling is a pie dough fortified with eggs, they help to add a bit more structure so the crust won’t fall apart, it also allows more flexibility when folding the dough over to seal in the flavors. Finally, all the half moon shaped pies get brushed with a beaten egg, this gives them an attractive golden color and crisps up the outer layer.
In a large baking dish mix together all the ingredients for the filling, cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 325F for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat is tender and easily twists when a fork is inserted in the middle.
Remove the chunks of meat from the sauce and let them cool.
Pour the sauce into a pot, bring to a boil over high heat and reduce by half stirring occasionally.
When you can handle the meat shred it into small pieces and combine with the reduced sauce, taste and adjust for seasoning.
Mix the dry ingredients together, cut the butter in using a pasty knife or do small batches in a food processor.
When all of the butter has been cut into small pea sized pieces with the flour add the two eggs and half the the water. Mix together, slowly add more water as needed until the dough just comes together.
Divide the dough into quarters, press into discs and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and set aside.
Roll out the chilled dough, use plenty of flour to prevent it from sticking to the counter and rotate it often so you end up with an even thickness.
Use a bowl and cut out circles from your sheet of dough, brush the edges with the egg wash.
On the bottom half of each circle of dough lay a ¼ of a roasted poblano, a slice of jarred mango and some of the pulled pork filling. Fold over the top lining up the edges and press them together with your fingertips or crimp with the tines of a fork.
Transfer the empanadas onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper for easy clean up and chill for 15 minutes.
After they have chilled brush with more egg wash.
Bake at 425F for 30 minutes or until golden brown all over, rotate trays half way through baking.
Mix together everything for the crème in a medium bowl and serve with the warm empanadas.
I’m a tall ship cook, I prefer to cook with water beneath me, no land in sight and lots of mouths to feed. I like to play with bold flavors, pushing people’s taste buds in new directions and using a recipe as a guideline, my hands are my measuring spoons. Read More about “About Me”…