Spicy Pork Empanadas

Chile was one of my favorite countries to visit.  The food is absolutely delicious, and I particularly loved the empanadas.  These can be made into large hand pies for a main course, or small for an appetizer.  You can serve them alone or with a sauce made from yogurt and herbs, which cools down the spiciness.

Spicy Pork Empanadas.jpg

Main ingredients:
Filling:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 (12-ounce) pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 1/3” medallions
1 serrano chili, minced
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup fresh lime juice
6 tbsp. sour cream
½ tsp. chipotle powder

Dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup masa harina (cornmeal)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. water
2 large eggs

Method:
For filling:  heat oil in large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add pork, Serrano, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, cinnamon, and allspice to the skillet and stir for 3 minutes.  Add raisins and lime juice, bring to a boil and cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Mix in the almonds and sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cool.

For dough:  In food processor, mix flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt just until combined.  Gradually add butter, and pulse after each addition, just until mixture resembles a course cornmeal.  Whisk water and 1 egg in a small bowl, and gradually add to the dry mixture,  just until a soft dough forms (do not over-mix!!)  Remove dough from processor, and divide dough into to halves.  Roll out on half on floured surface to 1/8” thickness.  Cut 4-inch circles out of dough.  You should get about 12 rounds per dough half.  Repeat with other half of dough.  Whisk remaining egg in a small bowl to blend.  Place 2 tbsp. of filling in center of each dough circle.  Lightly brush edges with egg.  Fold dough over, pressing edges with a fork to seal.  Place on prepared baking sheets.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about thirty minutes (can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush empanadas with beaten egg.  Bake until lightly golden brown, about 25 minutes.

MainsIzza Wei-Haas