cookbooks

Impanada. Recipe

Empanadas are a savory pastry known for their delicious fillings and flaky crusts. While the exact origins of the empanada are disputed, it is widely believed to have originated in Spain and then traveled to Latin America with the Spanish conquistadores.

The word "empanada" comes from the Spanish verb "empanar," which means to wrap or coat in bread. This refers to the traditional method of encasing a filling within a dough and then baking or frying it. Empanadas have become a popular dish in various countries, including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and the Philippines.

There is no shortage of variations when it comes to empanadas, with different regions and cultures putting their own unique spin on the recipe. The filling possibilities are virtually endless, ranging from meat and seafood to vegetables and cheese. In this recipe, we will focus on a delicious seafood empanada using halibut, plaice, or soles as the main filling ingredients.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/2 cup cold water

For the filling:
- 1 pound halibut, plaice, or soles, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup small pickles, diced
- 1/4 cup peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup gherkins, diced
- 1/4 cup West India pickles, diced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt for the dough. Add in the chilled and cubed butter, and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Slowly add in the cold water, a little at a time, and mix until the dough comes together. Avoid overmixing, as this can result in a tough crust. Once the dough forms a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest.

3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper, or lightly greasing it.

4. In a deep dish, create alternating layers of the fish, potatoes, and dumplings made of short-crust paste. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the layers, and season well with salt and pepper.

5. Scatter the small pickles, peppers, gherkins, and West India pickles over the filling. This combination of pickles adds a tangy and zesty flavor to the empanada.

6. Warm the water and butter together in a small saucepan, and then pour this mixture over the filling to help keep it moist during baking.

7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into small portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a thin circle, about 5-6 inches in diameter.

8. Place a portion of the filling onto one half of each circle of dough, leaving a small border. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, and press the edges together to seal the empanada. You can also crimp the edges with a fork for a decorative touch.

9. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the melted butter. This will give the empanadas a golden, shiny crust when baked.

10. Bake the empanadas in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and crispy.

Once the empanadas are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving. Empanadas are commonly enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, but they can also be served as a main course alongside a flavorful dipping sauce or salsa.

Now that you've mastered the seafood empanada recipe, let's discuss some fun facts about this delightful dish:

1. Empanadas are thought to have been brought from Spain to Latin America during the colonization period. However, they have evolved differently in each country, resulting in various versions with unique flavors and fillings.

2. Empanadas are incredibly versatile and can be filled with almost anything you desire. Traditional fillings include ground beef, chicken, cheese, and vegetables, but creative combinations like dessert empanadas with sweet fillings have also gained popularity.

3. In Argentina, empanadas are cooked and enjoyed on specific days of the week. Mondays are for chicken, Tuesdays for beef, Wednesdays for ham and cheese, Thursdays for tuna, and Fridays for vegetarian or corn empanadas.

Similar to empanadas, there are other delicious pastry pockets from different cultures that you might enjoy exploring:

1. Pasties: These are traditional handheld pies from Cornwall, England, filled with meat and vegetables such as beef, potatoes, and onions. The shape and crimped edge of a pasty make it easily recognizable.

2. Samosas: Originating from the Indian subcontinent, samosas are triangular pastries filled with spiced vegetables or meat. They are often served with chutney or yogurt for dipping.

3. Pirozhki: A popular Russian street food, pirozhki are small baked or fried buns filled with a variety of ingredients, including meat, vegetables, mushrooms, or sweet fillings like fruit preserves.

4. Calzones: Hailing from Italy, calzones are essentially folded pizzas. The dough is stuffed with various toppings, such as cheese, vegetables, and meats, and then baked until golden and crispy.

The world of pastry pockets is vast, offering a range of flavors and fillings to satisfy any craving. Whether you choose to make empanadas, pasties, samosas, pirozhki, or calzones, each offers its own unique experience and a delicious treat to enjoy. So get creative, explore different fillings, and let your taste buds embark on a delightful journey with these delightful handheld delights.

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