The holidays are nostalgic and this year even more so for me, as we won’t be able to be in Peru for the holidays. But at least I can make some Peruvian food. Empanadas are usually dusted with powdered sugar, some people might find it weird but it actually works pretty well with the filling. The filling is slightly sweet because of the raisins and salty because of the Kalamata olives. We usually eat them with a squeeze of lime juice but I also like it with some salsa criolla. For the empanada dough, I used a recipe from Epicurious. The cassava balls are usually eaten with a sauce made with Peruvian chilies. Since they are not always easy to find here, I thought of making it more accessible and just serve it with a sriracha-lime mayo. But you can serve it with any sauce that you like. I used mozzarella as the filling but you can also use any other kind of cheese that you may like.
This recipe makes about 17 small empanadas and about 25 cassava balls.
Ingredients for the empanadas:
For the dough:
2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
113grs cold butter, chopped
1/3 cup of ice water
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
For the empanada filling:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
260gr of beef steak, chopped into very small cubes (you can also use minced beef)
½ cup of tomato pure
6 quail eggs, boiled for 3 minutes and then chopped
50 grs of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
A handful of raisins, chopped
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
For the salsa criolla:
1 red onion, chopped
A handful of chopped parsley or coriander
Juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Chili to taste, chopped
Extras for the empanadas:
Powdered sugar for dusting
To make the empanada dough:
Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until the butter is mixed in and it resembles sand. Then add the egg, water and vinegar. Mix until you have an even dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.
To make the empanada filling:
In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the beef and garlic. Cook until the beef is seared and then add the tomato puree, Kalamata, raisins, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the water from the tomato puree has evaporated and has become more of a paste. Turn off the heat and add the chopped quail eggs and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Allow it to cool down until ready to use.
Once the dough has chilled in the fridge for one hour, take it out and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll 1 piece out in your floured working area, don’t roll it out too thin though as the empanadas might break while baking. Using a 9cm round mold, cut as many circles as you can.
Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each circle and then close it into half a moon. Pinch the edges with your fingers to seal them. Then using a fork, finch the edges again. Repeat for all.
Brush each empanada with some egg wash. Bake them till golden, about 20 minutes.
To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
Dust the empanadas with some powdered sugar. Serve them with the salsa criolla and lime wedges.
Ingredients for the cassava balls stuffed with mozzarella:
1 kilo of cassava
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of melted butter
30grs of grated Parmesan
Salt to taste
A good pinch of garlic powder
A good pinch of onion powder
4 tablespoons of flour
200grs of mozzarella, cut into small cubes or any other cheese that you may like
For the coating:
2 beaten eggs
1 ½ cups of panko, mixed with salt
1 ½ cups of flour, mixed with salt
For the sriracha-lime mayo:
1/3 of a cup of Sriracha
1/3 of a cup of Mayonnaise
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon of honey
1 liter of vegetable oil for frying
To make the cassava balls:
To make the sriracha-lime mayo, just mix all of the ingredients in bowl. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Peel the cassava and chop it into large pieces. Place it in a large saucepan and add boiling water. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
Once the cassava is cooked, remove the tough stem that it has in the middle. Mash it until smooth while it is still warm. Add the butter, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Mix well and taste to see if it has enough salt. Then add the egg yolks and flour, and mix it with your hands until you have a kind of dough.
Grab about 1 tablespoon of the cassava dough, make it into a ball and then flatten it with your hands. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and then make it into a ball again. Repeat for all.
Have the beaten eggs, flour and panko ready in separate bowls.
Coat each cassava ball in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.
Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, start frying the casaba balls in batches until they are golden. Just make sure the oil is not too hot, otherwise they will turn golden too quick without the cheese melting in the inside. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels. You can place them in the oven at 120C/250F to keep them warm until all of them are fried.
Serve them with the sriracha-lime mayo or the sauce of your choice.