Sunday’s are usually my days where I plan my meals for the week, make my lists and head to the grocery stores to stock up on food. This Sunday was a little different. 10 years ago we all had a loss. We lost thousands of innocent people for nothing. We will probably never understand why this happened but every year 9/11 makes me hold my loved ones a little bit more, laugh a little louder and think a little deeper about my purpose.
I don’t necessarily know what my purpose is, but I woke up and new today’s purpose was to make my little family feel loved and happy. Nothing makes the G-man more happy than Sunday football. I’m not exaggerating, nothing makes this man more happy. Well, he did say it now makes him even more happy when I make healthier versions of foods we grew up with.
As a child my parents would take my brother and I to visit my grandma a lot. On the way there I would always ask if Grandma was cooking, even though I knew better. The cravings of different foods she would cook always started when we were about 1/2 way there. When my grandma opened her door I remember immediately being invited by the smells of spices and the sizzling sound of food frying in the kitchen. My grandma shows her love with food and every time I see her or walk into her house I feel that unconditional love stronger as the years go by.
I loved her empanada’s. She would walk across the kitchen with a steaming empanada that she pulled directly from the frying pan and would tell me to hurry and grab a napkin. Those few seconds it took me to grab a napkin and the empanada would only leave me salivating. Of course the first bite is the worst and the best. The worst because 9 times out of 10 I would burn my lip trying to bite it too fast. The best because the first bite prepares you for the robust flavors that was packed into the crisp, yet fluffy, empanadas.
Her staple was beef empanadas, since I haven’t eaten meat in so many years I miss participating in this tradition of her cooking. Not only do I not eat beef but, like most people I know, I can’t eat the same foods I did as a child. If I ate a fried empanada right now I’m sure it would find a nice little nook on my left thigh, or perhaps my right hip. Either way, I miss it. I miss holding the empanadas in the napkin that would catch the oil from dripping on your hand, I miss the crisp pastry like outside and the savory, flavorful filling. Today I decided I’d take matters into my own hands and make them for me and the G-man.
Using frozen shrimp: turn the heat off and mix until well combined.
Using fresh shrimp: cook on low until the shrimp just begin to turn pink, remove from heat.
- 8 pre-made empanada discs
- ½ potato diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- 1 small pepper (or ½ large pepper), diced
- 5-7 large shrimp, chopped (frozen or fresh), I used frozen cooked shrimp
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- ½ garlic, minced
- ½ tsp adobo
- ½ packet of Sazon
- 1 tbsp capers, strained and roughly chopped
- 2 small tomatoes pulsed in a food processor or 1-2 tbsp of tomato sauce (I only had fresh tomatoes on-hand)
- 1 egg
- Pre-heat your oven to 350*.
- In a large saute pan add your potatoes, carrots and onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add your your peppers, tomatoes, sofrito, garlic, sazon and capers and let it cook until fragrant. Cook on medium low.
- Chop your shrimp into pieces and add to your veggie mixture, cook through. Once done remove from heat.
- Place a small bowl with water beside your assembling area. This will be used to seal the discs.
- Place some of the shrimp and potato mixture in the center of the disc. Lightly wet the edges of the disc with the water from your bowl.
- Fold the disc in half and push down on the edges using a fork to seal.
- Once you finish with all your filling place on a lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup).
- In a bowl, whisk an egg and brush empanada's with the egg wash. This will help them brown nicely.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and serve while hot. Enjoy!