Here is the second installment of 2014: The Year of the Empanada. After my first installment, in which I fried up my stuffings in Goya pre-made disks, I was showered with questions about whether they could be baked instead.
I wasn’t sure, but thanks Kathy Blenk for reporting back that she tried it and indeed they could!
So I decided to go for it as well (later in the year I hope to make my own, but one thing at a time) and was very pleased with the results.
Okay, so frying makes empanadas moist and crunchy and pleasantly greasy, but these baked ones were cozier and more tender. And I was much happier with them as travel companions; we took a few cooked ones for snacking on a recent trip to Mystic, CT, and they held up very well and tasted great cold, which is something I can not say for fried empanadas. And if you wanted to serve them for a party, it’s much easier to stick them in the oven than try to fry them all as your guests arrive!
You can stuff empanadas with anything you like, but I hope you will try this broccoli and spinach-packed version. It had great flavor and texture!
Baked Broccoli and Spinach Empanadas
Thaw a 10-pack of Goya empanada disks (an hour or two)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
½ Cup onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A generous pinch or two hot red pepper flakes
2 large crowns broccoli chopped into ¼ inch pieces
2 Cups frozen chopped spinach
Your choice herb seasonings (basil/oregano/thyme/marjoram) and salt to taste
½ Cup feta or other salty, melty cheese, crumbled
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp water
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil until loose and fragrant. Add the onion, stir and cook at medium for about five minutes, until tender. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add chopped broccoli and cook (adding water by the tablespoon to allow to soften) until tender, about five minutes. Add spinach and cook until heated through. Add crumbled cheese and stir to combine. Cook until liquid has evaporated (important!!!! you don’t want them too wet or you’ll ruin the dough). Season to taste and remove from heat.
Roll out a disk slightly. Place about two heaping tablespoons of vegetable mix in the center. Bring sides together and pinch into folds (to differentiate from meat patties and to be decorative). Repeat until all empanadas are filled. Brush with egg mixture.
Place empanadas on a lightly greased baking sheet or foil-covered rack and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.
If you are planning to freeze them, do NOT cook first and do NOT use egg wash. Wrap in waxed paper and then store in the freezer in a container. You can further wrap in aluminum foil if desired. Do not thaw, just brush with egg wash and cook at 325°F oven for 30 minutes instead.