Most of the empanadas I grew up with were always filled with sweet fillings, such as pumpkin, pineapple and cajeta or dulce de leche. I started experimenting with savory fillings and was unsure about using any seafood. I was new to facebook and a big fan chef Marcela from food network. I asked for her advice on using seafood as a filling and whether it should be cooked first before stuffing it into an empanada. I was still new at cooking shrimp, so I asked for her opinion one day on her facebook page. I never thought she would answer me, but she did!!! I was very excited! She advised me to cook the shrimp ahead of time, so I prepared one of my favorite recipes for diablo shrimp to fill the empanadas. The fresh mango salsa compliments the spicy, savory flavors of the shrimp and was a big hit at my dinner party.
Yields up to 9 servings
For the empanada dough:
1 cup of shortening
6 oz of cold light beer
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2½ to 3 cups of all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon of water, whisked together, set aside
For the Diablo Shrimp Filling:
1 pound of uncooked shrimp cleaned, peeled and tails removed (not frozen)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking shrimp
1 large poblano pepper, diced
½ cup white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 dried guajillo or New Mexico chile peppers, stemmed and seeded
4 dried chile de arbol, stemmed
2 tablespoons habanero hot sauce, optional
1½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
½ cup to ¾ cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt the shortening in a microwave-safe bowl, just until melted. Add the cold beer, salt and baking powder, stir gently to combine. Gradually add the flour and mix with your hands, until dough forms and is no longer sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 395º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with oil, set aside.
3. Transfer the dried peppers to a heat safe bowl, cover with boiling water, cover bowl and let the peppers sit for a good 30 minutes. Drain the peppers and transfer to the blender, add the cumin, oregano, hot sauce if using, ½ cup of broth and a pinch of salt, blend until smooth, taste for salt and set aside.
4. In a pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil to medium heat, add the poblano peppers and onions, cook for 8 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove the onion mixture from pan onto a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, add shrimp and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for just 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the chile sauce from the blender and stir well to combine and cook for another 3 minutes, adding a little bit more broth if needed. Taste for salt. Remove from heat and let cool.
5. When ready, form 18 dough balls. On a flat, lightly floured surface, roll out 1 dough ball and fill with about 2 tablespoons of shrimp filling (about 3 large shrimp), fold over and using your fingers or a fork, seal the edges of the empanada. Transfer to lined baking sheets and brush with egg wash mixture. Bake at 395º F for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. You could cook under the broiler for a minute or two for a crispier crust.
I like to serve these with mango salsa.