Recipe

Pork Empanadas

  • Yield: 12 empanadas

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 4 teaspoons chopped green olives
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions

  • Make the pastry: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and the butter until smooth. Gradually add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and continue beating until they are thoroughly incorporated.
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough lightly by hand, then shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
  • While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling: In a medium nonstick skillet over high heat, combine the ground pork, cinnamon, cumin, the remaining salt, allspice, oregano, and crushed red pepper, and cook, using a spoon to break up any clumps, until the meat is golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, currants, capers, and olives, and stir to thoroughly combine. Stir in the water and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick and the flavors have come together, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before proceeding.
  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350?F.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a small bowl or saucer as a guide, cut as many 5-inch rounds of the dough as you can. Set the rounds aside while you gather up the scraps. Press the scraps together and knead lightly to reform the dough into a disk. Roll out as before to a thickness of 1/8 inch and again cut as many rounds as you can. You should be able to get twelve 5-inch rounds of dough.
  • Using a pastry brush, remove any excess flour from the dough rounds.
  • Using a tablespoon measure, top one side of each dough round with about 2 tablespoons of the cooled meat filling. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of one side of each round with some of the beaten egg, then fold the edges over so that the dough meets to form a half-circleƱshaped pie. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges of the dough circle firmly to crimp.
  • Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and place the meat pies on the prepared baking sheet. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut several small slits into the top of each empanada to allow air to escape while baking.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the empanadas from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm.