1/2 cup arepa flour (see note)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon oil, plus extra for cooking
Filling (see recipe below, or fill with your own recipe)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, mix flours, sugar and salt. Add the water and mix with a spoon until the dough is incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about 5 minutes, moistening your hands and the board with water as you work. The dough should be smooth and not crack around the edges; moist and not sticky.
Pinch off about half of the dough. Roll out, on a floured surface, to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out circles about 3 inches in diameter. Gather the scraps, add to the rest of the dough and roll out another batch. Repeat until you’ve used as much as you can.
Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle of pastry. Fold over the pastry and seal the edges. Let the empanadas rest for 30 minutes.
If baking: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. If deep frying, heat 3 inches of oil in a pot to 375 degrees and fry until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. (If you are deep-frying, you want to be absolutely sure they sealed tightly!)
Skirt Steak-trimmed of fat
3-4 cloves garlic, divided
1/2 small onion, halved
1/2 bell pepper, halved
1 rib celery-cut in half
Beef bouillon (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Place the steak in a large pot. Smash 2 cloves of the garlic and add to the pot with half the onion, salt, half the pepper, and the rib of celery. Add beef bouillon, if using. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the steak is cooked through. Remove the meat from the broth and shred with 2 forks. Reserve the broth.
Mince more onion, peppers and garlic until you have 1 1/2 cups minced veggies. Place the veggies and shredded meat into a non-stick skillet with oil. Stir together and add tomato paste. Add some of the cooking water from boiling the meat. Cook, stirring, until all ingredients are combined and vegetables are cooked. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Cooks note: Arepa flour is a precooked corn flour. Do not confuse it with masa harina or cornmeal. Arepa flour is sold as masarepa, harina precocida or masa al instante. It can be found in Latin American groceries, such as the Food Bazaar on South Boulevard in Charlotte.
Recipe courtesy Zuleika Mendoza
For The Lancaster News