Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vegan Chorizo and Potato Empanadas

Tonight I had planned to make Chorizo Potato tacos. But at some point in the day I was inspired to try making empanadas instead. The results turned out great. This might look hard to do, but it is actually pretty easy. If you can make pie dough, you can make empanadas!

Vegan Chorizo and Potato Empanada

Chorizo Potato Empanadas
Makes 12.

Empanada Dough

1 1/2 cups instant corn masa
1/2 cup flour (plus extra for counter)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold shortening, cut into cubes
3/4-1 cup cold water

Put the masa, flour, salt, and shortening into a food processor. Pulse until the dough starts to stick together and the shortening is well distributed. Pour in the water gradually while the food processor is running until the dough comes together and forms a ball. I used about 7/8 cups of water. This will vary depending on humidity and dryness of the flours. Add more water if you need to.

Turn out onto a floured surface. Form a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.

Chorizo and Potato Filling ***
1 medium red potato, 1/4" dice
1/2 spanish onion, diced
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (a couple of cranks)
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 oz Vegan Chorizo (I used Yves)
1 clove garlic, minced

Steam potatos for about 10 minutes (or boil them) until they are just starting to get tender. You don't want to cook them all the way here, we are just giving them a head start. Drain the potatoes if you boiled them, or if you steamed them, remove them from the steamer.

In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add the potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Cook stirring every few minutes until potatoes are browned (about 8-10 minutes). Add the garlic and the chorizo. Stir and break up the chorizo. Cook for a few minutes until heated through and the chorizo dries out a little bit. Remove from heat and remove filling from the pan and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Assembling and Cooking the Empanadas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with nonstick foil or regular foil that has been oiled. Clean the skillet used above because we are going to use it again here.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Put 2 of those back in the refrigerator to stay cold. Divide the remaining 2 pieces into 3 pieces each so that you now have 6 pieces of dough on the counter. Take one piece and roll it into a flattened ball. On a well floured counter, roll it out into a circle about 1/4" thick. If you want to now be fancy, you can cut it with a circular cutter (I don't bother). Place about 1 1/2 Tbsp filling in in the center. Fold over and crimp the edges with a fork. * Do this for 3 of them if using cooking method 1 or all of them if using cooking method 2. Continue the same way with the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

For cooking method 1, you will want to fry about 3 at a time (see below) and then roll out the next 3, rinse repeat until all are pan fried and in the over.

Cooking method 1

Olive Oil for frying

In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat with a liberal amount of olive oil (about 1/4" deep), pan fry the empanadas on each side till browned. Now move the empanadas to a foil lined cookie sheet (pat with paper towel) and bake for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining empanadas.

This is the method I used in the picture above. It resulted in a flaky crust that we like a lot without resorting to deep frying.

Cooking method 2

Place all empanadas on cookie sheet(s). Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. **

*Cheater hint - If you want them to be prettier semi-circles and don't have a large circular biscuit cutter, you can use this trick to shape them better. Fold the dough over the filling. Take a pizza cutter around the folded edges to make a better semi-circle shape and then crimp the edges.

** Next time we are going to try brushing the baked ones (method 2) with olive oil before baking.

*** I actually doubled this and have leftovers for taco filling later this week.

We also had some margaritas with dinner. A strawberry margarita on the rocks:
Strawberry Margarita


  1. Never made empanadas, but you make a look simple, so maybe I should give it a try. Never tried a strawberry margerita too.

  2. Damn, they look good. Thanks for sharing the recipes! If I weren't packing up my kitchen, I'd be making them now. I'll have to wait a few more weeks, but these will be among the first things we make in our new place.

  3. you've got so much mexican awesomeness go'n on - i'm loving it all and have been printing off recipes to try like crazy! i can't say i've ever had an empanada before, but from the looks of it i need to get a move on and make some! mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  4. Totally loving that this week is Mexican week!

  5. [...] with the other fillings to make really nice tasty combinations. We also had a little bit of the chorizo potato empanada filling, that we also ate as a taco filling, making taco mania night a night filled with 4 taco [...]