Saludos a todos!
I may have spoken too soon in my last post when I said that there was less work here than in the US. It seems that instead of gradually building the workload up, as we do in the US, workloads stay small until about halfway through the semester here. Last week, I realized that I had much more reading than originally anticipated and, consequently, have not done much of interest.
However, Wednesday was a holiday (International Workers Day) and I spent the morning and early afternoon cooking with my host mom.
I’ve found that cooking is the best way to bond with a Chilean housewife. My host mom is a fantastic cook and spreads her love through food. She also seems to enjoy teaching me her recipes. Cooking together is a lot of fun, and I’ve been learning a ton of tricks!
I’d requested to learn how to make empanadas and, because the process is a bit complex, we spent the holiday doing just that.
Here are the steps as I remember them:
1. Make the filling. The traditional filling consists of ground beef, onions, raisins, and spices. We also had a vegetarian filling. My host mom prepared the filling the night before, so I honestly can’t tell you how this works.
2. Make the masa. The masa starts as a dry mix. One egg, white wine, and olive oil is added to a bowl of flour and salt, but the mix should still have a dry consistency. After this is done, add milk and butter that have been heated over the stove to the masa. This is an extremely important step, and should be done quickly, as the dough needs to stay warm while it is being worked with.
3. Knead the dough. I mean clump your mess together and take any pent-up aggression out on it until you have a nice smooth dough.
4. Form dough balls. Remember to do this quickly as the dough needs to stay warm.
5. Roll dough balls out into circles.
6. Fill. Each empanada should receive the filling as well as a quarter of a hard-boiled egg and an olive.
7. Fold. This is actually an art form. Start by putting some water on the edge of one half of your dough circle. Next, fold the dough in half and press the edges tightly together, starting where the filling ends. Next, fold up the sides, leaving the top for last. After all of the sides are folded, pinch each corner.
8. Brush the empanadas with olive oil and poke a hole in the top of each one using a toothpick.
9. Bake. I missed the actual instructions, but they should bake for about half an hour until golden brown.
Here’s an actual recipe