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Weekly Recipe Review: Homemade Empanadas, Spicy Squid, and More...

Weekly Recipe Review: Homemade Empanadas, Spicy Squid, and More...


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A weekly roundup of the best food section recipes around the world.

Check out our Editors' picks for this week's top food section recipes.

The Oregonian: A quick recipe for spicy squid is made with red chiles and flavored with Thai basil.

The New York Times: Take advantage of spring vegetables with this tasty fried zucchini recipe.

The UK Guardian: Taking another look at pollack, a member of the cod family, this recipe combines the meaty white fish with spicy sausage and black olives for a well-rounded dish.

The San Francisco Chronicle: A warm vinaigrette is a great way to spruce up this chickpea and carrot salad.

Salon.com: One cook shares a recipe for homemade empanadas that was given to her by a dear friend.

The Boston Globe: This D.I.Y. po'boy recipe is made with spicy mayo and fish.

The Washington Post: This vegetarian Chinese stir-fry recipe makes a great weeknight meal.

The Los Angeles Times: Mix up your next barbecue with this white sangria recipe.

Times-Picayune: Fresh chanterelles and scalloped potatoes make for a great side dish.

KitchenDaily.com: A simple arugula salad is dressed up with roasted tomatoes and garlic.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.


One Dough, Lots of Fillings … Empanadas for Festive Friday!

Empanadas are stuffed bread or pastry and can be either sweet or savory. They make great appetizers and finger foods. In Spain where they originated, they are made in larger rounds that are cut into individual servings. In Portugal and South America the are usually made in smaller portions that travel easily. The fillings vary from country to country, but often have some form of meat or chicken, cooked eggs, olives and raisins. If you are traveling in South America, make sure you try empanadas everywhere you go so you can judge the differences for yourself!

In the American south, you will often see “fried pies” on menus. These are made with a pastry crust, stuffed with yams or reconstituted dried fruit such as apples, apricots, or pears, and then fried until crisp. If you like you can dust them with a little powdered sugar when serving.

Because they are usually filled with a cooked and cooled mixture, you only need to cook until golden brown and crispy. Some people prefer to fry the empanadas, but you can make them healthier by baking them instead. Use either method, but if you are frying them, make sure you use cold vegetable shortening and not butter in the dough.

Freshly made empanadas, ready for cooking!

Because it is better to use a cool filling than a hot one, you can make the fillings a day or two in advance. If your filling is dry (little to no liquid), you can even assemble them a few hours in advance. I like to make a whole bunch of them at a time and freeze half for future meals. During the holiday season, have some friends over and have an empanada party and everyone takes some home. Then whenever you have someone drop by, you can pop a few in the oven for a hot, homemade snack!

While delicious on their own, you can also serve them with sauces for dipping. A classic Chimichurri sauce or Salsa are wonderful, and even a basil pesto would be good. But if you are running short on time, Ranch dressing is great!

If you are like me, and love just about anything that has a pastry dough involved, check out cheapfoodhere.com, a terrific website dedicated to the foods of Costa Rica. They have a whole array of recipes, many for different kinds of empanadas. I’ll get you started with these recipes here, but if you want more ideas, that is the website for you! For the Alternate Fillings, follow the same directions as in the first recipe.

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

While making the pastry dough from scratch is preferred, some days we just don’t have the time. Frozen or packaged pie dough will work or you can use wonton wrappers. The wrappers are often found next to the produce in a refrigerated section.

Kitchen Skill: Working with Small Pieces of Dough

You will use the same technique as when working with a large piece of dough. Start in the center of the dough and roll away from you, move the pin back to the center and roll toward you. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and repeat, turning dough and re-flouring the board as needed. A smaller rolling pin gives you better control, especially when working with small sections of dough. I like to roll out all of the pieces at once and then fill them. Cover with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out while you roll out the rest.