As a second-generation Puerto Rican, much of our culture has been diluted. My mother never cooked Puerto Rican food for us, they never taught us Spanish, and we rarely visit the island. Even so, the traditional food has managed to make its way into my heart. I love all types of Puerto Rican food, but without a doubt my favorite is the empanadilla. Funny enough, it’s the food that you will find on every corner and in every shop in Puerto Rico.
Empanadas have a long history. They are made by many cultures and called many different names, including empanadilla or pastelillo. The one I grew up with is the Puerto Rican version called the empanadillas. It’s pretty much always filled with meat, be it chicken, pork, or beef, and every once in a while my grandmother will throw in some potatoes. And they aren’t anything like those sweet things that Taco Bell sells.
Empanadillas are shaped like a half moon, with the edges crimped together. They can either be fried, which is the traditional way, or baked. There are a couple of different recipes required to make empanadillas, as you have to make the filling and the dough, and then put it all together. I’ve noticed that Puerto Rican dishes are usually time-consuming, but it’s a perfect reason for getting the family together. There’s lots of different recipes, so here’s one to try:
Ingredients for cooking ground beef
- 1 tbsp of dry oregano 2 tbsp of salt
- 2 large size potatoes 1 green pepper
- 1 onion 2 lbs of ground beef
- 2 bay leaves 1 can of chopped pimentos
- 5 cans of water (use pimentos can for measuring)
- 2 packages of “Sazon” seasoning 1 head garlic 3 tbsp of oil
Procedure: Ground oregano and salt. Place them in small size container. Chop potatoes into small squares and place them in a medium size container with water and salt to taste.
Chop green pepper and onion Into small squares.
Peel garlic. Ground garlic. Place garlic in container that you have the oregano and salt.
Inside a large pot place the following ingredients:
- green pepper
Cook for 1-2 minutes at medium heat.
Add to the pot the following Ingredients:
- peppers seasoning
- ground beef water
- oregano salt
- oil bay leaves
Using a metal spoon, stir ingredients to mix them all together.
Drain water from potatoes and add potatoes to the pot.
Stir and continue cooking occasionally stirring at medium heat.
Remove pan from stove and let it cool down to room temperature.
Ingredients for dough
- 3 lbs of flour all-purpose 3 tbsp of salt
- 2 sticks of margarine or butter 2 cups of boiling water for every 2 lbs of flour
Mix boiling water, flour, and margarinne in large bowl.
Add flour as needed.
The mix is ready when it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm draft-free place for 8-10 hours.
Make 25-30 balls with 2-3 inches in diameter.
Put It All Together
Spread flour on a flat surface. Begin by rolling the ball of dough out into a circular shape. Spoon 1-2 tbsp of the filling into the middle of the dough. Pull one side of the circle onto the other side, forming a half circle. Using a fork, press the two edges together to seal it. Fry the empanadillas at 350 °. They will turn golden brown and puff up. That’s when its time to turn it over. Once the other side is golden brown, remove from oil.
By Contributor Blogger Cassandra Ramos