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Tag Archive: Latin American

Beef Empanadas

June 4, 2014 Print this page

In Latin American countries, families often get together and roll these out together, so unless you have a hoard of helpful relatives, you’ll have to form the empanadas on your own. But if you’re ready to blow the socks off of your family and friends on a Sunday or rainy weeknight, you should totally make these.

Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 35 min
Total Time 50 min
Yield 9 empanadas

FOR THE DOUGH:

1 cup of tapioca powder

1 1/4 cups of blanched almond flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

FOR THE FILLING:

2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped finely

1 large carrot, chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3/4 lb of ground beef

6 ounces of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of oregano

1 tablespoon of cumin

A pinch of paprika

A generous pinch of salt

FOR THE EGG WASH:

1 egg

1 teaspoon of water

A pinch of salt

Directions

FOR THE DOUGH:

In a big mixing bowl, whisk together the tapioca powder, almond flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together. Once a homogeneous ball is formed, wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

FOR THE FILLING:

Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the fat is hot, add the onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

To the onion and carrot, add the garlic, then crumble in the ground beef. Use a large spoon to break it up, then let it saute with the onion and garlic until no pink remains, about another 5 minutes.

Add in the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir to incorporate, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat until you roll your empanadas.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Take out the ball of dough and divide it into nine even-sized smaller balls.

Rip off two pieces of wax paper and dust them lightly with tapioca or arrowroot flour. Put one of the balls between the two sheets and use a weight, large can, or cookbook to smush it down until it’s flat. 

Remove the top layer of parchment paper and round out the edges of the dough circle with your hands.

Using a small spoon, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the filling and put it on half of the dough circle towards the center, leaving some room on the edges to seal up the empanada.

Fold over the exposed half of the dough circle on top of the circle with the filling and use a damp fork to seal the sides and create a pretty pattern.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then brush lightly with some prepared egg wash. Continue baking until golden brown and shiny on top, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with roasted or grilled vegetables, brown rice or cauliflower rice, and guacamole and salsa for dipping.


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Beef Empanadas (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)

June 3, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Today, we’re going to be getting a little exotic. We’re also going to be getting a little beefy.

I hope you’re all right with that.

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And this recipe was developed because of first-world grocery problems. Allow me to explain.

I had this great idea one night in the shower–savory banana splits, with grilled plantains instead of the bananas, Mexican-seasoned meatballs instead of ice cream, guacamole instead of whipped cream, and a cherry tomato on top. It was genius, I tell you, genius.

But then, I went to my local provider of plantains (a decent-sized organic market) and there were no plantains. I was heartbroken. What was a creative girl to do with good-quality ground beef? I couldn’t just make burgers, after all.

After much deliberating and brainstorming, I hit another idea and ran with it. Both my family and I are very glad I did so.

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The filling, made from ground beef, tomato paste, onions, and herbs and seasoning is delicious on its own, but the buttery, slightly-crunchy exterior really takes the tastiness to the next level. Add some guacamole and salsa on the side and it gets EVEN. BETTER.

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In Latin American countries, families often get together and roll these out together, so unless you have a hoard of helpful relatives, you’ll have to form the empanadas on your own. Oh well. The first couple are a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy!

If you’re ready to blow the socks off of your family and friends on a Sunday or rainy weeknight, let’s get started.

Recipe adapted from here.

001

In a big mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of tapioca powder, 1 1/4 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together. Once a homogeneous ball is formed, wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

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Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

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Time to make the filling! Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and chop up a medium onion and a large carrot. Once the fat is hot, add the onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

To the onion and carrot, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, then crumble in 3/4 lb of ground beef (I always use grass-fed/organic beef from my butcher). Use a large spoon to break it up, then let it saute with the onion and garlic until no pink remains, about another 5 minutes.

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Add in 6 ounces of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat until you roll your empanadas.

Take out the ball of dough and divide it into nine even-sized smaller balls.

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Rip off two pieces of wax paper and dust them lightly with tapioca or arrowroot flour. Put one of the balls between the two sheets and use a weight, large can, or cookbook to smush it down until it’s flat.

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Remove the top layer of parchment paper and round out the edges of the dough circle with your hands.

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Using a small spoon, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the filling and put it on half of the dough circle towards the center, leaving some room on the edges to seal up the empanada.

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Fold over the exposed half of the dough circle on top of the circle with the filling and use a damp fork to seal the sides and create a pretty pattern.

Repeat with the remaining dough. You will have leftover filling, and that’s OK: it tastes really good with eggs for breakfast or mixed into a chopped salad for lunch or dinner.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then brush lightly with some egg wash. (Simply whisk together an egg with a teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt in a bowl.) Continue baking until golden brown and shiny on top, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with roasted or grilled vegetables, brown rice or cauliflower rice, and guacamole and salsa for dipping. Yummy heaven.

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What is your favorite Latin American dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Tostones (Crispy Plantain Chips)

March 31, 2014 Print this page

Plantains are completely under-appreciated in this country, and I think it’s time for a change. They may not be as gooey and sweet as their coveted yellow cousins, but with a little love, plantains are magical in their own special way.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield 3-4 servings as a side dish

3 large green plantains

Coconut oil, for frying (or other heat-stable oil)

Salt

Freshly-squeezed lime juice

Directions

Using a small, sharp knife, cut slits all of the way down each plantain, taking care to NOT cut through the plantain’s flesh. Peel the slices of skin off of the plantain to reveal the starchy yellow interior.

Cut each plantain on the diagonal to make about 3/4-inch slices.

Meanwhile, heat enough coconut oil (or other heat-stable oil) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with about 1/2-inch of oil. (When you put the plantain slices in, the oil should come up about half of the way up the side.) Once the oil sizzles, add in 1/3 of the plantain slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the side facing down.

Flip the plantains over to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on that side, too.

Remove the plantain slices from the oil to a thick layer of paper towels and repeat the same procedure with the rest of the plantains. You should have two more batches to go.

They may look tasty enough to eat at this point, but I wouldn’t recommend it! They’ll still be super tough on the inside and not very appetizing.

Now for the fun part. Rip off two large pieces of wax paper and put one slice of plantain between the two. Using a mallet (or your hand), squish the plantain as much as possible until it’s very thin, but thick enough that it’ll hold together. Peel the wax paper away and set the squished plantain slice aside; repeat with the rest of the plantains.

Reheat the oil until it sizzles, then add 1/4 of the plantain slices back into the oil. Cook until brown on one side (only about a minute), then flip over to the other side and fry again until brown. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the squished plantain slices.

Immediately season the hot plantains with salt and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Serve right away for optimal crispiness!


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Tostones (Crispy Plantain Chips) (gluten-free, vegan)

March 31, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Plantains are completely under-appreciated in this country, and I think it’s time for a change. They may not be as gooey and sweet as their coveted yellow cousins, but with a little love, plantains are magical in their own special way.

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In my Oven-Fried Chicken post, I talked about some of the reasons why I don’t like frying. In this recipe, however, I do.

Why?

Because of their starchiness (and absence of fat), plantains don’t splatter and spew as soon as they hit the pan. They always brown beautifully and don’t need cups and cups of oil, and best of all, they come out salty, crispy, and absolutely satisfying every. Time.

That’s if you fry them twice, of course.

What?!

The trick to Tostones–a classic Latin American and Caribbean side dish–is to fry the plantains not once, but TWICE. In between the two rounds of frying, you pound the still-warm plantains with a mallet (or your hands) so they become big and flat, then back into the oil they go for a final crunchy finish.

If you’re nervous about all of the oil you’re using, don’t worry! By using coconut oil–which has a high smoke point–you avoid the high Omega-6 content of the traditional seed oils for frying. The plantains also won’t absorb all of the oil: using three long green plantains, I still had well over half a cup left. In any case, these are a special treat…and I guarantee there will be no leftovers after you put these on the table.

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Are you ready to make these insanely-awesome bites of heaven? I sure am! You’ll only need four ingredients to get started.

001

Using a small, sharp knife, cut slits all of the way down each plantain, taking care to NOT cut through the plantain’s flesh. Peel the slices of skin off of the plantain to reveal the starchy yellow interior.

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Cut each plantain on the diagonal to make about 3/4-inch slices.

010

Meanwhile, heat enough coconut oil (or other heat-stable oil) to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with about 1/2-inch of oil. (When you put the plantain slices in, the oil should come up about half of the way up the side.) Once the oil sizzles, add in 1/3 of the plantain slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the side facing down.

011

Flip the plantains over to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on that side, too.

Remove the plantain slices from the oil to a thick layer of paper towels and repeat the same procedure with the rest of the plantains. You should have two more batches to go.

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They may look tasty enough to eat at this point, but I wouldn’t recommend it! They’ll still be super tough on the inside and not very appetizing.

Now for the fun part. Rip off two large pieces of wax paper and put one slice of plantain between the two. Using a mallet (or your hand), squish the plantain as much as possible until it’s very thin, but thick enough that it’ll hold together. Peel the wax paper away and set the squished plantain slice aside; repeat with the rest of the plantains.

Reheat the oil until it sizzles, then add 1/4 of the plantain slices back into the oil. Cook until brown on one side (only about a minute), then flip over to the other side and fry again until brown. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the rest of the squished plantain slices.

Immediately season the hot plantains with salt and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Serve right away for optimal crispiness!

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What is your favorite kind of chip? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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