Abuelita is the name my children use for my husband's mother - Spanish for "little grandmother". This is her recipe, brought from Puerto Rico when she and my husband's father moved to Tennessee in 1957. The recipe for the dough is very time consuming. Both she and I have found that wonton wrappers work just as well. But I have included the dough recipe for those who are ambitious.
These "little meat pies" can be used as an appetizer or a main dish. Great with rice and beans and a little salsa.
flour, mixed with 1/4 cup water to form a thin paste
oil for deep frying
How To Make abuelita's empanadillas
Brown meat well; drain fat. Add capers, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic and vinegar; stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
If making hand made dough, see step 6 below. If using wonton wrappers, go to step 2.
For each empanadilla, place 1 teaspoon meat mixture in the center of one wonton wrapper. Fold in half to form a triangle, sealing edges with the flour paste. You may also crimp the edges with a fork for an authentic Caribbean appearance.
Make all the empanadillas before starting to fry them, as they cook very quickly.
Heat oil at least 1 inch deep in heavy skillet, to deep-fry temperature, about 365-370°F. Keep oil hot. Fry a few at a time in the hot oil, turning once, until golden on both sides. It takes about 1-2 minutes on each side; the wonton wrappers take even less time. They will puff up. Drain on paper towels.
If meat filling runs out before the wonton wrappers, place a small cube of cheese (about 3/4-inch size) in the wrapper in place of the meat. Cook as directed above.
TO MAKE HAND MADE DOUGH:
Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add water, and stir quickly with a fork until a ball of dough forms and pulls away from sides of bowl. Knead just a few times on a well-floured surface. To make empanadillas, pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a large marble, and roll into a very thin circle about 3-4 inches in diameter. Then proceed with filling as in step 2.
Makes about 60 appetizers, or serves 6-8 people as a main dish.
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