Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cumin Beef Empanadas

I had no idea what to do with the jar of cumin on the spice rack, nor even how it got there! The original rack was empty when we received it as a wedding gift nearly 14 years ago- wish I could remember from whom so I could thank them again. My aunt has given me many high quality spices as gifts over the years, so there’s a good chance the cumin was from her. I don’t remember ever cooking with it, and certainly didn’t realize the many health benefits of cumin: an on-line search showed thousands of sources, and the few that I checked out listed insomnia and indigestion as some of the issues aided by its consumption. I followed this recipe from Military Spouse Magazine:
2 lbs. ground beef, 1 onion chopped, 2-3 TBSP chili powder, 2-3 TBSP cumin, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt

I used half the ingredients, and added one diced potato as optionally suggested. I didn’t have any taco shells on hand, so I created empanadas, using refrigerated pie crust dough. To make empanadas, which are like mini calzones, or samosas:
1.     roll open the dough
2.     cut 3 inch circles using a drinking glass or biscuit cutter (make a ball with the leftover dough and roll out to make more circles)
3.     place a spoonful of the meat mixture onto the circle
4.     moisten the edge of the circle with water, and fold over, pinching the edges together to form a half-moon
5.     beat an egg in a bowl and brush over the unbaked pastries
6.     I forgot to time how long I baked them for!!! Maybe 10 minutes at 350? Check the oven regularly and remove when the empanadas are lightly browned.
I used one box with two pie crusts inside, and both pie crusts worth of circles made empanadas from half of the meat filling recipe.

Serve with vegetables of your choice. I forgot to use any of the garnish items suggested in the recipe, but seconds were requested, whew! Next time I would have salsa and sour cream on hand. I should also disclose that I am not receiving any type of payment or samples to endorse any particular products.
Do you use dough and a filling (either sweet or savory)? What are the filling ingredients?
Since I only photographed two stages of this adventure, I'll share a generic spice photo that I took.

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