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Empanada Gigantica and Smaller Empanada "Hand Pies"Do you have leftover Picadillo Cubano?  It makes a great filling for empanadas, and I threw a ripe plantain for good measure.  It was (note the past tense!) delicious.  The perfect light supper for The Latin Lover, after his return from the airport.  Yes, he travels a bit, leaving The Goddess to wander and get into all sorts of trouble.  Earlier when I returned to the North, I left the freezer filled with some good things, so there would be some things that could just be thawed and warmed or reheated.  The Spicy Honey told me he liked having them for dinner.  Two was the perfect number.  But, they are even better fresh.

I must confess, I purchased the prepared discs of empanada dough for the smaller “hand pies”.  Frozen Empanada DiscsThese discs are available in the frozen food section of many supermarkets.  You’ll want them to be about 6 inches in diameter for dinner-sized and about 3-4 inches for hors d’oeuvres.  Empanada GigantaFor the Empanada Giganta, I also used purchased, refrigerated crusts, but any pie crust (purchased or homemade) will work.  Empanadas are great with a beer or a glass of wine or champagne.  Why not?

There’s a nice little place here in the Miami area, Graziano’s Marketplace that offers about 20 different varieties.  They have other nice things, too, but I love, love, love their plum, pancetta and cheese and their Roquefort empanadas.  We’ll do The Goddess’s version of those in another post.

But back to the filling at hand—Cuban Picadillo & Maduro filling.  Picadillo CubanoI used the leftover Picadillo and Black Bean mixture, but decided I wanted to have some ripe plantain inside those little wonder pies.  Fried Ripe Plaintain for Picadillo, Black Bean and Ripe Plaintain Empanada FillingI diced up a ripe plantain, sautéed it in a bit of oil, Picadillo, Black Bean and Ripe Plaintain Empanada Fillingthen stirred in the leftover Picadillo.  Now, I chilled the mixture for a couple of days, but you don’t need to wait.  Just cool the filling to room temp and proceed.  When you make empanadas, the dough needs to be cold, but the filling is easier to work with if it is at room temperature.  And that’s how we do it here.  Empanada FillingI used about a good 1/3 cup of filling for each empanada.  When you flop the top over, forming the pocket, you’ll want to press as much air as you can out, then seal the edges with the tines of a fork.

Egg Washing EmpanadasYou’re going to use the beaten egg/water mixture as a “glue” to both seal the edges and brush on top to add a lovely shiny quality to the finished empanada.  Since The Goddess is a “hands-on” sort of woman, she just uses her fingers for this.  It works beautifully.

Cuban Picadillo & Ripe Plantain Empanadas

  • Servings: Makes about 5-6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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  • 1/2 recipe Cuban Picadillo I or Cuban Picadillo II
  • 1 ripe plantain, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 5-6 frozen discs of empanada dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, well beaten with 2 tablespoons water

Sauté the plantain in the oil, over medium heat, until nicely browned, about 2 minutes.  Add the picadillo; heat for 30 seconds.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir just until combined.  Cool the mixture to barely room temperature, if needed.  If you wish to use just the Picadillo filling, remove the filling from the fridge about 1 hour before you’re going to make the empanadas.  If making empanadas right after you make the picadillo, then cool it to room temperature before proceeding.  The filling should not be soupy, but just moist.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a cookie sheet (not the insulated type) with foil; set aside.  Beat the egg with the water; set aside.  Lay one empanada dough disc on a cutting board.  Brush (or use your fingertips) the edge of the disc with some of the egg wash; this will help seal the edge.  Place about 1/3-1/2 cup of the filling just off-center, toward the bottom of the disc.  Fold the top over, matching the edges up.  Press gently, but firmly, forcing out as much air as possible.  Seal the edges together; press the tines of a fork to complete the seal.  Carefully place the half-moon empanada on the foil-lined cookie sheet.  Repeat with filling and sealing the discs, until the filling is used up.  Do not allow the empanadas to touch.  Brush each empanada with some of the egg wash.  Place the pan in the oven and bake until the dough is cooked and lightly brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven; place on a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes before eating.  Or cool to room temperature, wrap individually in foil and refrigerate or freeze.  Reheat in a 300°F oven for about 10 minutes or 15 minutes, if frozen (do not thaw before reheating).

Cuban Picadillo & Ripe Plantain Empanadas Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016.  All rights reserved.

Empanada GigantaYou may use 2 pie crust discs and make 1 big pie, or an Empanada Giganta, if you wish.  You’ll need to bake a two crust, about 25-30 minutes, but remember, only the crust, on either types of empanadas need to cook and brown, as the fillings are already fully cooked.

I’m going to post more empanada filling options later.  You’re going love these.  You’re going to make these and best of all, you’re going to devour these.  Make a salad, pour the wine or uncap a beer and enjoy!