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I love salsa. LOVE. Since moving to Texas, I’ve gotten so picky that I prefer my own to anything that comes in a jar. So when I tell you that a store-bought salsa is worth your time, I MEAN IT. I got this holiday four-pack of My Brother’s Salsa from Sam’s Club. (Interesting fact: though the name is My Brother’s Salsa, the company is owned by women!) Each jar has a family recipe on the outside but when I tasted, I got inspired to make a recipe I’ve never made before: empanadas.
There are a few great places to try empanadas here in Houston, but if you haven’t had them, just imagine a bite of pillowy dough, crisp on the outside and filled inside with delicious goodness. They are thought to have originated in Spain, but there are many different forms of empanads throughout Latin and South America. I filled mine with a sort of hash of sauteed onions and potatoes, a mix of cream cheese and My Brother’s Salsa, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. SO.GOOD.
I used this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen as an inspiration, but chose to use tortilla flour (found in the flour aisle, but a mix of corn and flour) instead of corn flour, which can be difficult to find!
- 2 1/2 cups tortilla flour
- 3/4 cups warm water, plus a bit more if needed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 potato diced, finely
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced finely
- 1 tsp creole seaoning
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup My Brother's Salsa
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
- oil for frying
- For the dough, mix the salt and flour together, then form a well and incorporate the wet ingredients until it forms a ball of dough. Use more water if needed or a little more flour if it's sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Saute the onion and potato together in a bit of oil and season with creole seasoning, or salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Mix the salsa and cream cheese together in a bowl.
- Form small balls with the empanada dough, then roll each ball out between two sheets of plastic wrap until they are thin. Fill with a teaspoon or so of the potato mixture, a teaspoon or so of the salsa mixture, and top with cheddar. Fold over the dough and press to seal with a glass. (Do NOT press so hard that you cut through the dough!) Use a fork's edge to press into the edges.
- Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet. Test that it's fry-ready with a small piece of dough. You want it to rise to the top and bubble. Cook about 3 minutes on a side, then flip. You want to see the tough turn golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels and serve with My Brother's Salsa.
No matter what I tried, they were a little bit on the ugly side. But you know what? When food tastes amazing, you can forgive the ugly side, and these were amazing. Like, I don’t want to admit that I made two batches and ate a good deal of both. THAT good. The salsa was great inside as well as outside for dipping. My favorite was the fire-roasted because of the smoky taste.
If you’re fancy, you can get an empanada-press which will help with the shape, but I improvised by simply folding the dough over my filling (do NOT overfill!), pressing with a glass to seal it, and then using the tines of a fork to create lines in the edges. The dough puffed up a lot in cooking and sort of ruined my effect, but again, it tasted amazing despite the lack of a beautiful dish.
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, the four-pack of My Brother’s Salsa would make a GREAT gift! Already packaged and with a gift tag, it would be ready to go, even for the salsa snob (like me) in your life. The gift pack is only available for a limited time, so snag yours at Sam’s Club or look for the jars at Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, or Walmart. Use this locator to find one closest to you! As a cool bonus, each jar has a family recipe printed on it! You can find more recipes from My Brother’s Salsa on their website.
There are so many different options for how to fill empanadas! What would you like to put inside yours??