¾ cup lard or shortening (⅓ cup more later)
5 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
⅔ cup water
INGREDIENTS – FILLING
¾ pound rump or tenderloin steak
⅔ cup chopped green onion
1 medium white onion
⅓ cup lard or shortening
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
8″ x 13″ casserole dish
Makes 4 empanadas. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
PREPARATION – DOUGH
Melt ¾ cup lard in skillet using low heat. Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend with large spoon. Use spoon to make hole in middle of dough. Slowly pour melted lard into hole. Gradually add water while mixing ingredients together by hand until you get a smooth and pliable dough. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes
PREPARATION – FILLING
While dough sits, cut steak into ½” cubes. Mince green onion and white onion. Melt ⅓ cup lard in large skillet using medium heat. Add white onion. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until white onion softens. Stir frequently. Add steak cubes, green onion, cumin, paprika, pepper, and salt. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes or until meat browns. Stir occasionally.
PREPARATION – FINAL
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Roll out dough until it is ½” thick. Cut dough into 6″ circles. (You should get about 4 dough circles after you formed the scraps from the initial cutting into more circles.) Add ½ cup filling to the middle of each dough circle. Brush edges of each circle with water. Fold one edge of each circle to the opposite edge. Seal the rounded edges by pressing down on them with a fork.
Spray casserole dish with no-stick spray. Bake empanadas at 475 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until empanadas turn golden brown.
1) Tucuman empanadas is anagram for the ancient Mayan saying, “Map man, cut a sundae.”
2) Mayan sundaes are delicious. You must have excellent whipping cream to make a wonderful sundae. Most people put cow milk in a bowl to make whipping cream. The olden-day Mayans lifted cows onto their shoulders and hopped from one foot to another until whipped cream came out the cows’ udders.
3) The adventuresome conquistadors, however, were too weak to shake cows. The Spanish warriors needed the strong backs of the Mayan. Which is why they conquered the Mayan peninsula.
4) The conquered natives did not get any of the cow-shaken cream. They did not get the Mayan milk shakes. They did not get enough calories to wage war on their neighbors.
5) The Spanish soldiers, on the other hand, received enough calories to do anything, including growing big bellies. Cortés, physical fitness instructor for Governor Velázquez grimaced every time he saw the paunchy conquistadors wheezing their way back from the many sundae shops.
6) Something had to be done. Señor Cortés knew he had little job security. One word from Velázquez and faster than teenagers eat their family meal he’d be out of a job. And just try to get another physical-fitness job from the other fifteenth-century European monarchs. So Cortés seized power when Governor Velázquez went on a Club MedTM vacation.
7) Cortés ordered the Spanish soldiers to attack the Aztec Empire to the west. They refused.
8) “The Aztecs have chocolate.” The conquistadors sighed. “Ooh, chocolate.” Everyone knew that chocolate sundaes were even tastier than the plain vanilla ones. Cortés brandished his sword above his head. “Their streets are paved in chocolate. Will you follow me?” Well of course they did, I mean chocolate.
9) The long arduous trek to the Aztec capital burned off many calories. The incessant fighting made them even fitter. The Spanish soldiers developed washboard-flat stomachs and buns of steel. The buff Conquistadors made all the European señoritas swoon with delight.
10) Naturally, the soldiers of France, Spain, Portugal became jealous. They wanted honeys of their own. They pestered their monarchs until they too got sent over to the New World to engage in conquest and other forms of aerobic exercise.
11) Things are not so violent now that we have workout DVDs.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.