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A Southwest Summer: Southwest Spicy Pork Empanadas

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No matter where you go in the Southwest you will find a version of the classic empanada. It doesn't matter if you're at a roadside eatery, a street food vendor or the classiest restaurant this part of the America has to offer, you will have your choice of empanada's. They are a classic savory pastry and once you've eaten one, you will be hooked.

The secret to a great empanada is not so much the filling. It is the dough. As far as fillings are concerned, you can load them with whatever you want. For ease and simplicity, this recipe is for the classic pork version. When it comes to the dough, you want it to be rather light in texture, have a delicate crunch and just a touch of pure buttery richness.

Whether it be for a party, part of a meal, a light lunch or a simple snack, you can never go wrong with this Southwest classic!

Ingredients needed to make Southwest Spicy Pork Empanadas (serves 4):

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed
  • corn oil for frying

Steps:

  1. In a large saucepan bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the butter, salt and cornmeal. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes while stirring.
  2. Remove the cornmeal from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a medium sauté pan or skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cinnamon, sugar, cloves and black pepper and sauté 10 minutes.
  4. Add the ground pork and cook 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and capers and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Remove golf balls size portions of the cooled cornmeal mixture and form into a ball. Using your thumb, make a deep and wide indentation into the balls and fill with the pork mixture. Reform the cornmeal mixture to cover the indentation and set aside.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the remaining cornmeal and filling.
  8. In a large sauté pan or skillet add 3 inches of corn oil and bring to 375 on a deep-fry thermometer.
  9. Carefully add the empanada's, in batches, and fry until golden on all sides.
  10. Remove the empanada's with a slotted spoon and let drain of excess oil on paper towels before serving.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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