Two reasons to celebrate today… It’s Friday – hoo haaa!, and March Break is upon us.  If you are not lucky enough to get away for the week, you will be entertaining your kids all of next week.  Here’s a great snack/lunch item to start off the week.  Heck, it could even pass for dinner with a nice tossed salad or some couscous (what?!  your kids don’t like couscous?!?) or anything that you’d like to serve it with.  It can be a vegetarian stuffing or a meat stuffing.

The good folks at had this recipe for Empanadas (I’ve adapted it and my notes on the process are in italics). I decided to use the leftovers in my fridge  for the filling as I had some Cauliflower and Potatoes (Indian Style) from last nights dinner, and half a head of regular Cabbage. I chopped up the cabbage and cooked it with 1 diced Onion, 1 tblsp Madras Hot Curry Powder, 3/4 tsp Mustard Seed and 6 – 10 Curry Leaves (email me if you need the process). Once the diced cabbage was soft, I added the left over cauliflower and potatoes to the mix and gave it a good stir.  Took it off the fire and let it cool.  I mashed it up a bit but left some chunks  for texture.  You can use anything you want for the filling just as long as there isn’t too much liquid in it – Chicken or Beef, even fish.  Here’s the recipe for the dough and the process. As always – enjoy!

•3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
•1 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup cold water
•2 eggs
•1 teaspoon vinegar
•3 tablespoons shortening

•1 egg yolk lightly beaten to paint the top of the empanadas

Preheat the oven to 350f and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

1. In a bowl, whisk the water, eggs, and vinegar together. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the 3 cups of flour and salt and cut the shortening into the flour using a fork, your fingers or a pastry knife you know the drill, it should look crumbly. 
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add the liquid ingredients (pasta style).
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until it comes together.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth. This was a beautifully soft dough.  
6. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

7. After 1 hour, remove the dough from the fridge, roll out the dough on a floured surface and using a 4″ round pastry cutter, cut as many rounds as you can get. I did it in two batches rolling each to 1/8″ thickness and got over 20 empanadas.
8. Take a tablespoon of the filling and place it in the center of the circle not too much or it will not seal properly. Have a small bowl of water handy, you will need it to wet the edges of the pastry so it will stick when folded over.
9. Fold over to form a semi-circle. You can either do the tines of the fork on the edges to seal it, or just press it together like I did. Just make sure you press and seal it or it will open up during baking. That’s not a bad thing folks, just means you didn’t seal the edges. The sun will still rise tomorrow.
10. Place on a parchment lined paper, paint with an egg yolk, and bake for 15 minutes until nicely browned.

There are three great things coming out of this recipe – it’s baked not fried, it can be made with leftovers or something new, and you could have enough left over to enjoy it as a snack the next day – hot or cold, these are delicious.  An additional bonus – which kid doesn’t like to eat finger foods (sneak some mashed veggies in there, they will never know).  Enjoy!