One Family's Return Trip: Empanadas Vallunas

From the NOT TO MISS CUISINE files, comes the delicious Empanada Valluna. They are different from the Empanadas that my mother-in-law makes. For those, you can use the following link to her recipe:

http://raisingcolombiankids.blogspot.com/2008/12/abuelita-carmens-colombian-empanadas-de.html.

The Valluna version of the empanada are equally as delicious, but they taste different. They have meat and potatoes like those I was familiar with, but the spices are different. The woman that made them told me she uses tomillo (thyme) as one of the spices. This spice was definitely not on the list for my MIL's empanadas. These deep-fried delights are really not to be missed if you want to have a truly cultural Valle experience.

Here is the recipe -- as with any recipe in Colombia -- no one knows how much of anything to use. I hope to test this out in the future, but for now, if you give it a try, and it works out, let me know the measurements you used:

STEP #1 -- Prepare the MEAT
In about 8 cups of water place the following spices: Bay Leaf, Thyme, Oregano, Cumin, and Salt. All were to be AL GUSTO which means TO TASTE.
Add the following to the water 1 pound of pork and 1 pound of beef. Boil until cooked , then drain and break the meat into tiny pieces.

STEP #2 -- Prepare the POTATOES
Cut up a large onion and fry it in quite a bit of oil. Then add 1 pound of cubed yellow potatoes (yukon gold) and 1 pound of cubed red potatoes and cook. Add the meat, and when the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat.

Step #3 Follow the same recipe for the MASA

3 cups AREPA HARINA (La Venezolana, Goya Masarepa or PAN) -- Arepa Flour
3 - 4 cups boiling water (start at add more water if necessary)
1-2 teaspoons of Colór (This is a yellow spiced food coloring I can only find in Colombia. So, while you are there stop at Carrefour, Exito, or some other store and pick up a few packets of COLÓR. It is a powder that is orange in color. If you do not have Colór, try using "Sazón con Azafran" by Goya, or just buy Yellow Arepa Harina.)
Salt to taste (I usually do not add much salt).

Mix the water and flour and then let it cool a little. When warm, knead until you can form a nice ball. It SHOULD NOT BE STICKY. If it is sticky, you will need to add more flour. It should also not fall apart easily. If your dough is crumbly, you will need to add more water. Unfortunately, each brand of flour is a little different, so this is not an exact science.

STEP 4: Prepare and Fry the EMPANADAS
Plastic Wrap
Rolling Pin
Large frying pan or pot
Corn Oil

Once your dough is ready, place some on a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough into a thin layer about 1/4" thick. In order to see how to make the empanada look like a half moon, I am sending you to the following You Tube video. The woman's recipe is a bit different, but the process of making and cooking the empanada are the same.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWnOOz3imck

Here is a website where you can purchase the AREPA HARINA or try going to a local Latino Market.
http://www.ecuadorianfooddelivery.com/shop/Arepas,_Arepas,_Harina_PAN,_Harina_de_Maiz,_Corn_Meal

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