Colombian Empanadas are a popular appetizer in Colombia and are served by most Colombian restaurants in the USA, best when served with aji salsa for dipping but they are still great just the way they are !
Prepare the vegetables:.Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot. Add 3 minced cloves of garlic, chopped tomato, chopped green onions, chopped onion, chopped red bell pepper, chopped cilantro leaves, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 package Sazón Goya con azafran. Sautee over medium heat, stirring until onion is very soft (about 12-15 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. When done remove all contents from pot and set aside in a separate bowl.
Prepare steak and potatoes:.In the large stock pot (or can use a slow cooker) add 1 whole head of garlic (smashed), 1 whole onion peeled and cut in half, 1 whole tomato cut in half,(sounds weird but is necessary for the broth) 3 beef bouillon cubes, flank steak and cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer the steak until very tender (about an hour). Peel and quarter potatoes and add to the pot, adding more water if necessary to cover the potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are very tender (about 25 minutes). Remove pot from heat and let the meat and potatoes cool in the broth.
Remove the meat from the broth and slice into 1” cubes, then put cut up steak into a food processor and pulse it until it looks like ground beef *DO NOT OVER PROCESS, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MAKE BABY FOOD OUT OF THE STEAK*.
Remove potatoes from the broth and set aside in a separate bowl, strain the broth and reserve it.
Add the potatoes, the meat and vegetables into the same bowl. Add a little of the beef broth to the mixture and mix well, mashing the potatoes in the process.
Prepare the dough:.Place 3 cups yellow masarepa (pre-cooked cornmeal) into a large bowl, add 2 teaspoons of sugar and salt and pepper to taste, incorporate the dry ingredients well before adding the liquid.
Combine 1 cup of reserved broth, 2 ¼ cups of hot water and 1 tablespoon of softened butter.
Slowly add the cornmeal to the water and stir with a big spoon. When all of the corn meal has been added, work the dough with your hands until it becomes soft. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Making the empanadas:.To make the empanadas, put a small ball of dough (about the size of a golf ball) in the center of a tortilla press covered with plastic and press to flatten it. You can also put the small ball of dough between two pieces of plastic and flatten it with a small saucepan.
Add a tablespoon or so of the filling. Fold the circle of dough in half to form a half moon.
Cut off the edge of the half moon with a cup or drinking glass. This will shape your empanada and seal it at the same time. Another way to make them is pressing the edge with your fingers and folding the extra dough inwards, this will prevent the filling from coming out during frying.
you can fry them in a deep frier at 350ºF. You can also fry them on the stove at medium high temperature. Fry the empanadas for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Then put them on a paper towels to drain them.
*Note: You can shape the empanadas a day ahead, and chill them until you are ready to fry. Once empanadas are cooked, keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.