I don’t know why this never ceases to surprise me, but most people I meet have never eaten Cuban food. Now, considering the sum total population of 11MM people on the island, you would think “hey, Damaris – that’s to be expected.” Now, whenever I meet someone, it feels like it is my mission from the universe to make sure they experience Cuban food, Thai food, Korean food, Japanese food, and Vietnamese food – at a minimum (and in that order). It isn’t always the simplest thing to quickly cook up some Cuban black bean stew or some ropa vieja – but gosh darn it, I will at least fry up some Cuban empanadas.
If you have experienced at least a simple (and incredibly, crazy delicious) street food from each of these places, I feel like my universe debt is paid. Because we need to cover our bases in order – we’ll start you off with Cuban. Empanadas were one of the first Cuban dishes I ever learned to make. My mom taught me, and this was one of our tag-team recipes, where she would prepare the filling, and then I would shape and close the empanada. If you have little ones of your own, you might find this is a great recipe for keeping those little hands busy without making a lot of mess.
There are so many different doughs and fillings you can use to make empanadas that this recipe is just the way to open a door to a world of creativity. You can go sweet, salty, gooey, crunchy. Our personal favorites use either picadillo, or guava paste and cream cheese. The Cuban kitchen is all about being resourceful – using what’s available, using up leftovers, making the most of everything. These are a great way to enjoy the heck out of some leftover meat, veggie, or rice dishes. Do me a favor – help me ease my debt to the universe, and go make yourself some empanadas. I promise this is one debt that’s actually very fun to repay.
- Goya "discos para empanadas"
- Filling (Cuban picadillo or Goya guava paste (vaccuum packed or canned) and cream cheese)
- Vegetable or Canola Oil for frying (enough to deep fry)
- Defrost dough until it is room temperature.
- Taking one slice of dough at a time, add a small amount (about 1-2 tablespoons) of filling in the center of the dough.
- Fold the dough in half, matching the edges to the other side.
- Take a fork and carefully press in the edges to seal the dough.
- Flip the half circle over, and press in the edges with the fork on the other side. Be careful not to pierce the dough!
- Repeat with all of your slices.
- Preheat your oil over medium-high heat.
- In small batches, fry your empanadas in the oil until golden brown (3-5 minutes, depending on your stove's heat output). Lay over a paper towel to drain.