Empanandas de Papas

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Twice a week in Chile every community closes one or two  blocks of a street to traffic for the Ferias, the farmer’s market.

There, local people sell produce, clothing, shoes, and empanadas and other foods. When my husband’s parents came to the U.S. for a long visit, we made and sold empanadas every Saturday at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Empanadas are Chile’s most popular food. At the soccer stadium, vendors selling empanadas carry big baskets of them around the stands. Soccer is the most popular sport in Chile as well as in my family. Empanadas are a traditional Chilean dish but are usually made with meat. I created this recipe as a vegetarian alternative. Serve with Pebre, a spicy cilantro salsa.

Empanandas de Papas
Recipe type: Main Dish, Street Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup corn, fresh, frozen, or canned (drained)
  • ½ cup chopped pimientos
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup grated mild cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup warm water
  • tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups unbleached white flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, or vegetable oil
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. To make the filling, in a small pot, cook the potatoes in water to cover until soft.
  2. Drain them well and mash them with a potato masher or wooden spoon.
  3. In a large frying pan, saute the onions and bell peppers in the oil.
  4. Season with the cumin, black pepper, salt, and cayenne.
  5. When the vegetables begin to soften, stir in the corn.
  6. Continue to saute until all the vegetables are tender, then transfer them to a large bowl and add the pimientos.
  7. While the vegetables are still hot, vigorously mix in the mashed potatoes, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese.
  8. For the dough, in a large bowl, mix together the water, vinegar, and salt.
  9. Add the flour and melted butter. Mix well and work the dough a bit with your hands.
  10. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and form it into a large, long roll.
  11. Cut it into eight equal pieces.
  12. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each piece into a 6- or 7-inch circle.
  13. Place about ½ cup of filling on each circle leaving about a ½-inch border.
  14. Wet the edge of half of each circle to help the dough seal well.
  15. Then fold the dough over the filling to form semicircles and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
  16. In about one inch of oil, heated to 360°, fry both sides of each pastry until golden brown.
  17. Drain the empanadas on paper towels.

Serve with Pebre, a spicy cilantro salsa

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