Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Southern BBQ Pulled Pork Empanadas, Shepard's Pie Empanadas, Pizza Burger Empanadas & more

Southern BBQ Pulled Pork empanadas
Shepard's Pie empanadas
BBQ Pulled Chicken empanadas
Pizza Burger empanadas
BBQ Tri meat: pulled pork, chicken, beef

Gourmet Empanadas (cooked)
One of the luxuries of staying at an apartment for a vacation, is the option for home cooking while in a new city. After 5 nights of great restaurants in Santiago, Chile, last night was prime time for some homemade gourmet empanadas.

I've never quite understood how in the empanada eating culture, the options are always so limited. Perhaps it's due to the prevalence of the tasty filled treat in Argentina, where culinary variety is not something the natives find to be of importance. But in the culture of cooking empanadas at home, the empanada could be the greatest invention to "left overs".

Of course, in Argentina, one can scour the refrigerator section of their local supermercado and find rows and rows of "ready made" empanada crusts. In the US, etc, one can save some time with a "ready made" pie crust. Oddly, in Santiago, where the empanadas are a bit larger and just as popular, the only option last night was to make our own empanadas shells...which was well worth it. No need for short-cuts.








Southern BBQ Pulled Pork Empanada:
It's pretty basic: take the USA BBQ favorite of slow roasted or smoked pork shoulder, hand separate the meat, and combine with a tasty BBQ sauce. We topped the meat off with some sauteed and delicate onions.

BBQ Pulled Pork Empanada (before)

BBQ Pulled Pork Empanada (cooked)



Shepard's Pie Empanada:
The "carne" empanada is one of the more popular options around the world. Whether it's "sauve" or "picante", the real hit-or-miss factor can often be in the texture of the meat used. When the meat is in a paste form, it's usually a strikeout. If you're fortunate enough to get one with large hand cut chunks of beef, it can be good...depending on how long the meat has been sitting out. The most tasty beef empanadas I've had are usually the most simple: a light sautee of ground beef with some onion, hard boiled, egg, etc.

But as a child growing up eating Hachis Parmentier, a French Shepard’s Pie, and being a fan of both carne and various potato empnadas, it's certainly time for an empanada form of the classic pie that combines them both.

Shepard's Pie empanada (before)
This is one of those empanada types that allows for all sorts of flexibility. We opted for the simple approach: garlic mashed potatoes, with peppered sauteed beef & grilled diced onions, topped with a few sauteed onion strips. It's also a great way to work in vegetables like corn, carrots, peas, etc as another layer.

Shepard's Pie empanada (cooked)


Pizza Burger Empanada:
Like the late-night diner food, but in empanada form. Parents used to buying snacks for their kids, or high school and college kids with limited cooking skills would think of this as a gourmet "hot pocket".

We tried two versions. One was more of a burger form, with a mini beef patty, topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. The other version we mixed together sauteed beef, diced mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.


BBQ Pulled Chicken Empanada:
Very similar to the pork version above. Pulled chicken meat, mixed with BBQ sauce and wrapped up. This is more similar to the classic "pollo" empanada, but with BBQ sauce as the sauce base.


Tri-Meat BBQ Empanada:
This one was made like a Neapolitan ice cream in presentation, but with meat: BBQ pork, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Beef, each one mixed in BBQ sauce and placed in a column, and topped with sauteed onions.




Since you can rarely find new and fun options for empanadas at restaurants, there's always the option to try something new at home on your own.

Feel free to share your empanada concoctions here, any photos, links, etc too, and I'll add them here!

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