And since I just got an iPhone, I'll probably be snapping photos the entire time. We'll see if I can figure out how to post any here without calling my computer-genius brother-in-law...
Oh! And I actually like my in-laws. Strange, I know.
I think part of it has to do with the fact that besides my MIL, it's all boys. So they have no idea what to do with me. And then I do things like helping to fix something broken with power tools. Which blows all perceived pretty-pretty-princess notions away.
I like keeping them on their toes. It's more fun that way.
Speaking of on one's toes - I'm always on tip-toe when hot oil is involved.
I seriously go up, nearly on point, and arch my back so that my tummy is as far away from the pan as possible when I drop things in to fry them.
It's pretty funny to see.
That's what I looked like making these empanadas.
Start off with the dough - masa harina (corn meal), flour, baking powder, salt, shortening. In a bowl.
Then add cold water, quickly form it into a ball, and divide it into 12 equal little balls.
Put it in a bowl and add sofrito, smoked paprika, and mexican oregano.
Then mix in the cheese.... if you take a cheese nibble, I won't tell anyone.
Now - press out your dough balls and add a little filling.
Fold over the dough, and crimp with your fingers or a fork to seal. You need to have them super sealed - that way the filling doesn't fall out in the hot oil. Super important.
Now, into the shimmering oil they go! Stand on your tip-toes! And always flip away from you. If you flip towards you, you might have a splash incident. And wind up with a not-so-nifty burn.
Once the empanadas are finished cooking, put them on a plate and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven. It totally works. And I think it helps de-grease them slightly too.
Serve with avocado. And cheese. 'Cause there's nothing wrong with a little more queso.
Makes 12 empanadas
Adapted from Mexican magazine, Better Homes & Gardens
1 c. masa harina (corn meal)
1 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. shortening
2/3 c. ice water
1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
1/2 c. fresh sofrito
1 tsp mexican oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 c. oaxaca or other mexican melting cheese (or mozzarella, if desperate)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix masa harina, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in shortening, and work in with pastry blender or fingers until it resembles coarse sand. Pour water (not ice) into the mix and swiftly form a large ball.
Divide the ball into 12 equal pieces. Cover pieces lightly with plastic wrap or a damp towel to keep from drying out.
In a large skillet, brown the ground chicken. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out your skillet. In the bowl with the chicken, add sofrito, paprika, oregano, and cheese. Mix.
Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin, make the dough balls into 6" circles. You can do this one at a time, but if you do multiple, put them between layers of wax paper to prevent sticking. Also - remember to wax paper your tortilla press, if using.
Place about a 1/3 c. of the chicken filling mixture off to one side of the circle. Fold the other half over, and crimp edges with your fingers or a fork. Set on waxed paper when finished.
In your large skillet, heat 1" of oil until shimmering. Carefully place empanadas in the oil and cook till browned on both sides.
Once empanadas are done, place on a paper towel on an oven-safe plate and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Garnish with avocado, salsa, cheese, cilantro - whatever you'd like.