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Mar 23, 2009 01:56 PM

Another Empanada Question

Just going back over the thread about "Why do my empanadas explode?" reminded me of something I've been looking for: a cornmeal dough for deep-fried empanadas. The first ones I ever ate were at an international food festival in Nashville maybe twenty years ago. They were filled with meat and onion, not sweet at all, and the dough was made all or partly - I suspect the latter - with cornmeal. I know there are probably as many empanada recipes as there are states or provinces in every Latin American country, but this is the one - or one of the ones - I'd love to learn.

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  1. Will, I don't use cornmeal, per se, it's too coarse. I do use Masa Instantanea De Maiz (an instant corn flour) which works quite well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Okay, I've got some of that. Now what?

      1. re: Will Owen

        Make a dough as for a tortilla. In fact, make a tortilla, but a little thicker. Put in your filling, seal it up, and fry. Now, I don't know what would happen if you tried to deep fry this, it probably would fall apart, but you can do it in a skillet with a good amount of fat. It is the way quesadillas are made in much of México. In other words, instead of a cooked tortilla filled with something, like they are in the US, they are made with raw dough. There are a lot of other names for these, but I can't remember them.

        1. re: MazDee

          Wait, I've got it: I should use the kind of masa/lard dough you use for gorditas and things. Those can cook in fairly deep fat without falling apart, at least according to the recipe in my ancient Sunset Mexican cookbook (which has been reliable so far). And I just happen to have some lard handy, too.

          Thanks, kids!

          1. re: Will Owen

            I came across a pictorial at egullet which showed quesadillas made in the manner we are talking about. I can't reference again, for some reason, but it you are a member, try it. It looked great at a glance. I was looking for something else at the time and didn't read carefully. Lots of pics. This is the page I copied Well, good luck, Will!

    2. Here is a Spanish (Galician) empanada that used cornmeal. The dough has equal parts flour and cornmeal - and yeast. There's a similar recipe in the New Spanish Table cookbook. It is baked more like a pot pie or even a covered pizza. In old Spanish usage an empanda, means something wrapped in bread (pan), and was sold to pilgrims on the way to Compostela in Galicia.

      There's a nice segment on making a large Galician empanada in the Spain, On the Road Again series.