Ah, empanada! The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. It is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, vegetables, or even fruits. Empanadas have their origin in Galicia (Spain) and Portugal, but the Philippines and many Latin American countries have this delicacy as part of their cuisine. When I was still living in the Philippines, empanadas and their mini-version, empanaditas, were a favorite item in holiday and special gatherings. I specificially like the ones made of ground beef, potatoes and raisins.
1/2 lb. Angus ground beef
1 cup sweet potato (or regular potato), peeled and sliced into tiny cubes
1/2 cup raisins
2 boiled eggs, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Olive oil for frying
12 pieces Goya Discos (packaged turnover pastry rounds), available in the frozen section of Latin groceries
Heat about 2 tbsps of Olive oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until golden brown. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add green onions and parsley and mix well. Add ground beef and cook until all the pink color is gone. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add sweet potato and raisins. Add in soy sauce, and brown sugar. Add boiled eggs. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool. Take one turnover pastry at a time and place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the beef mixture in the center. Fold pastry in half and use a fork to seal the edges. Heat the rest of the Olive oil in a wok or pan and fry the empanadas in batches until both sides turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set on a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. If desired, serve with ketchup or other favorite sauce.