Ever since I read about the pre-made Empenada wrappers labeled I have been keeping my eyes out for them, and this past week I found them at the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market – score! Of course I purchased some and they have been waiting in my freezer quite impatiently. So yesterday I took five out in the morning and put them in the ‘fridge to thaw. They would obviously need a filling so I also threw in some ground pork (ground by yours truly herself from a Boston Butt!) to get unfrozen also.
When filling time rolled around I was feeling contrary and did not want to make anything with Mexican flavors. I had a playdate over lunch and had prepared Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole for all us Mommies and I was just not feeling the Mex again. My mother was over for dinner and she asked me what we were having to which I replied “I’m making it up as I go along”. She gave me that look and said “Should be interesting”.
Just for that I made her write down what I did so that I could put it here. When all was said and done and I told her supper was ready but then corrected myself and said I would have to take pictures first she laughed at me. Harumph.
Apricot Pork Empenada Type Thingies
The Hardware: Skillet, Stirring device, Baking sheet, Oven (sarcasm optional)
12 Pre-made Empenada Wrappers (there is enough filling for 12, but they come ten to a pack – possibly a liberal tasting policy would be best?)
1 lb Ground Pork (lamb would be delish also)
1 lg Onion, chopped
12 Dried Apricots, chopped
1/2 t Cinnamon, ground
1 t Cumin, ground
1 T Minced Garlic (I am a lazy SOB and use that bottled crap, if using actual garlic that comes from a clove one might want to halve the amount)
1/2 C Carrots, peeled and grated
1 t Salt & hefty pinch Black Pepper (to taste but I hate it when people say to taste and don’t at least give me a hint)
1) Saute onions in some kind of vegetable oil until they are nice and soft, add pork and cook until mostly done. Crunch the pork up with the tip of your stirring device so that it is nice and crumbly.
2) Add everything else except carrots – cook for awhile. At the last minute stir in the carrots and cook for a minute (the last one as I said).
3) To make empenada type thingies follow directions for the wrappers and add 1/4 C filling per pastry. Seal well and do that fancy pants crimpy trick with a fork around the edges. Bake on a sprayed cookie sheet in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until done. I painted the tops with olive oil to get them to brown and it didn’t really work, so at the last minute I rubbed a stick of butter on them like I was coloring them with a crayon to get some browning.
The packaging did not have any directions for baking, only deep fry. Having eaten them baked I can say they were right. If you want to make something like this baked I think it is best to make your own pastry. My guess is if these had been deep fried they would have been delicious, but as is they were kinda hard and dry. I am sure they would have absorbed plenty of fat from the frying to alleviate the dry problem.
The filling itself was pretty durn tasty if I do say so myself. I only made 5 empenadas and intend to reheat the filling with a little water to make it saucy. Then I am going to serve it over rice and I expect it will make fabulous leftovers. As I mentioned lamb would also be delicious in this application, but I am not certain that beef would go well with the apricots.
My mom liked them – so yay me! Next time around I will share with you the embarrassing “only one salad dressing option” fiasco of the evening, but for now I will bask in glory.