Empanadas have always been close to my heart. Who can resist these half-moon shaped pockets full of yumz? This recipe recreates the traditional snack, usually filled with cheese, fish or meat, in a lighter version that will surely please plant-based and omnivore eaters alike.
Note: Mercedes is participating in the Seed Food & Wine Festival, taking place in Miami and Miami Beach Nov. 2 through Nov. 6, 2016. The premier plant-based food and wine festival in the country, SFWF celebrates delicious plant-based foods, fine wine, craft beer and spirits, lifestyle products and companies, all while raising awareness about conscious and sustainable living. Seed will gather some of the most talented speakers, chefs, celebrities, athletes and authors to savor a week of food, cocktails, parties, seminars and events, including a Grand Tasting, the nation’s first Plant-Based Burger Battle and SEED Summit, a gathering of bloggers, influencers and content creators.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the green onions, the bell pepper and tomato and salt to taste. Sauté for 5 more minutes.
Add the mushrooms, stir to combine, season with salt to taste. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are very tender. Remove the cover and let the juices evaporate a little bit. This is a good time to adjust the seasoning if you think it needs more salt to your taste.
Let the picadillo rest while you make the dough. You can make this in advance and the flavors will improve with time.
For the Empanada Masa
Mix 2 cups of lukewarm water, sugar, salt, 1 tablespoon of oil and combine. Stir in the masarepa until a soft dough forms, and knead until the dough comes together, dissolving any lumps. Let it rest for 5 minutes so the masarepa gets completely hydrated. Once rested, test the masa. It should be soft but it shouldn’t stick to the hands or be so hard and dry that it cracks. If too soft, add a little bit more masarepa. If too dry, add a bit more water.
Shape the dough into 12 balls. One at the time, place between two pieces of resealable plastic bags and push with your fingers into a 6 inch circle. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and add 2 tablespoon filling in the center.
Use the bottom piece of the plastic wrap underneath the masa circle to fold it in half over the filling, in a half moon shape and press the edges to seal. Trim the edges with a knife and place the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet until ready to fry.
If not frying right away, cover with a damped towel and place in the fridge. You can make them ahead of time if you want to have them ready for your guests and fry when ready to eat.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and fry the empanadas in batches until golden brown, 3-5 minutes per site. Transfer to a cooling rack. Eat them right away or keep warm in the oven.