Baked beef empanadas are filled with a bold beef filling seasoned with paprika and oregano and served with 2 delicious dips! These small pastries are perfect for your parties!
Hodgson Mill's recently asked me to enter their #HaveAGrain Holiday Baking Contest, and of course I couldn't say no! I love their flours and this time they sent me a gorgeous box of assorted whole wheat baking flours to work with! I have the options to create anything really..sweet, savory, appetizer or main dish, as long as I used one of their whole wheat flours and it had to be original and photogenic. Then the recipe will be tested by the Hodgson Mill's kitchen judges and judged based on creativity, taste and presentation. The prizes in the categories goes anywhere from an Ipad to a William Sonoma gift card...which would be mighty sweet to get this Holiday season.
Originality was the name of the game and a cranberry loaf wasn't going to cut it. Though that does sound nice too, doesn't it? After asking some of my fellow baking friends their opinions, my friend Toni (one of my awesome bloggy-friends who is a well known Mexican cuisine fan) suggested empanadas! And since I am in desperate need of something savory after making a weeks worth of cookies (coming soon..just wait), this sounded just perfect. So baked beef empanadas it is! And to throw in another twist to the contest, I also utilized the flour a second time to make a queso dip (again...Toni's suggestion). Genius right? The other dip is a simple avocado and pomegranate salsa with fresh lime juice. I love both the color contrast of the dark red and green, which is very festive now and the flavor combo of the creamy avocado with the tart seeds is just divine!
So what do you think....Do you think this is IPad winner worthy enough?
Oh and warning...there are a lot of components to this dish, but believe me, it is WORTH every step! All the savory flavors and spices added are fabulous. Once you taste the warm paprika beef against the buttery pastry with the cool avocado salsa, you will thank me (and yourself for making this!)
Baked Beef Empanadas + 2 Dips
Eggwash for Empanadas
- 1 egg
- splash of water
Avocado Pomegranate Salsa
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 lime juiced
- Small bunch of cilantro chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, saute the onion and potato until the potato begins to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chopped thyme, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for another 2 minutes until the garlic begins to caramelize.
- Next, add the ground beef and use a large wooden spoon or ladle to break up the beef so it cooks evenly. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato paste, paprika, cumin and fresh parsley. Continue to cook until the beef is fully cooked. When done, reserve in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator and make the dough.
- Using a food processor, add the flour and butter and pulse together until it looks like large "peas".
- In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, water and vodka and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the egg and water mixture to the flour and pulse together until the dough just comes together and looks like very wet sand.
- Next, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- When ready, remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half. Roll half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ in thick or about 9in. in diameter. Note* Because I was using whole wheat, the flour was a little finicky, but don't worry, the more you work it, the more flexible it will be. Just don't roll it too thin.
- Next, use a 3in. round cookie cutter and cut out circles.
- Fill each circle with 1 teaspoon of beef filling and don't overfill. Wet the edges of the dough with your finger and seal the empanada on all sides. Use a fork to crimp the edges as well. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- In a small bowl, mix together egg wash ingredients, egg and water, set aside.
- Place all empanadas on a non-stick baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes
- To make salsa, lightly mash up avocado in a bowl and squeeze fresh lime juice. Add pomegranate seeds, fresh cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
- In a small pot on medium heat, melt butter and add flour. Use a whisk to cook flour so there is no dry flour left over.
- On low-medium heat, whisk in milk making sure there are no lumps left over. Then use a wooden spoon to continue stirring for another 5 minutes until the milk begins to thicken. It should be able to coat the back of the spoon. Once it's thick, add shredded cheese, cayenne and salt and pepper and continue to stir until the cheese has melted.