Cuisine Corner: Puerto Rican Empanadas

Sometimes, I really think I may have been Puerto Rican in a past lifetime.  I can never get enough Puerto Rican food.  This recipe is especially easy, and allows you to freeze the pastries if you would like to cook them at a later time.

I hope you enjoy!!!!

Makes 12 Servings

Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon annato seed (optional for color)

Filling:
1 lb. browned ground beef or cooked shredded chicken
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/8 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 c. sliced green olives
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 pkg. Goya Sazon with annato

For cooking:
1 cup vegetable oil for frying.

DOUGH: Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer; add all wet ingredients. Mix for about 3 minutes until well combined. Dough will form.

Remove dough and knead for about 3 minutes, let sit wrapped in plastic-wrap for another 15 minutes.

Divide into 12 pieces, then roll into 4 inch circles.

FILLING: Brown ground beef (drain excess grease), or sauté shredded chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all the ingredients and cook for an additional 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Let cool.

COOKING: Preheat the vegetable oil in a frying pan at about a medium temperature. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the dough and seal the edges with a fork.

Deep fry for about 5 minutes on each side, then place on dish lined with paper-towels. Press another layer of paper towels over the top.
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