It’s been a while since I’ve deep fried something. Discovering how easy and delicious these veggie empanadas are is not going to be a positive influence on my diet. (That is…the foods eaten by me, a particular person, not that I am “on a diet.”)
I imagine I will make my own empanada wrappers one day–that seems like something I’ll want to do. BUT, you can buy them frozen in packs of 10! And it is so simple. So then you can just create whatever filling speaks to you, assemble, fry and enjoy.
Last night I made two fillings because it’s nice to have variety.
FIRST FILLING (Makes enough filling for about 10 empanadas):
- 1 Small or 1/2 of a Medium Head of Cauliflower
- 1 14 oz Can of Chickpeas
- Mole to taste (I used homemade, but there are multiple store bought options like Doña Maria–one jar makes enough to do a tray of enchiladas. There may be other options if your grocery store has a large Mexican section.)
- Hot Sauce to Taste (I used El Yucateco Hot Sauce, but another favorite of mine is Valentina Hot Sauce)
The first empanada filling I made was actually entirely from leftovers. We had plenty of Mole Coloradito leftover from enchiladas my husband made a couple of days ago, as well as a half of a head of cauliflower (also from those enchiladas), and chickpeas (I cooked up too many when making fresh hummus). Originally, I was thinking of making mushrooms in mole (and I do intend to try that), but since we are leaving town tomorrow, I wanted to use up some of these left-overs.
Chop the cauliflower into 1/4″ pieces and added chickpeas, enough that it is about half an half. Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 until the cauliflower is tender, about ten minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add mole, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until everything is well coated. Add a little more mole if you like a more succulent empanada. And then taste and adjust as you desire.
The Mole Coloradito was a little more smokey than I expected, so I added a little bit of sugar, as well as a little bit of good Mexican hot sauce, El Yucateco, to bring up the heat. The first time I made these, I didn’t add extra heat, but found myself wanting it once inside that fried dough that made the mole a little more mild than it was without. But this is one of those things where personal preferences comes into play. Once you are happy with the flavor, this filling is ready to go. (Note: if possible, taste while hot, the flavor will be different than tasting while cold.)
SECOND FILLING (Makes enough filling for about 10 empanadas):
- 2 Calabazita (Mexican Squash, like Zucchini), chopped in about 1/4″ pieces
- 2 Ears Fresh Corn, kernels removed
- 1 Large Serrano Chile, diced
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2-4 Tablespoons Green Adobo
- 2-4 Tablespoons Mexican Crema
- Salt to Taste
- Juice from 1/2 a Lime
This one wasn’t made from leftovers. It was born of my love for fresh corn. Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet, and when hot, sauté the calabazita, corn and seranno chile until they start to take on a slightly golden color. Transfer to a bowl, add two tablespoons each of green adobo and Mexican crema, and mix to combined. If too dry, add more of each. Taste and adjust to your liking. I added salt and a little lime juice to brighten up the flavor a little.
ASSEMBLING THE EMPANADAS:
- Empanada Wrappers, defrosted in accordance to their packaging
- At least one filling. Two or three if you’re feeling fancy.
- Two inches of cooking oil heated in a cast iron skillet (medium-high heat)
Carefully separate the empanada wrappers (I had a little trouble with them sticking together, I may have let them defrost for too long), and place several tablespoons of filling just off-centered on each wrapper. The wrapper is flexible, so I like to put as much filling in as I think is possible for the best filling to dough ratio. Fold the wrapper over, and use a fork crimp the edges. Carefully place two or three empanadas into the hot oil to deep fry. Use tongs to flip them, and once golden brown, remove and let rest on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Place in a warm oven to keep hot while finishing the rest of the empanadas.