Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gluten Free Empanadas

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and I love it.  Perhaps not for the traditional reasons like eating until you explode, but because I get to cook and I have the time to cook.  The 4 day weekend is wonderful to relax and recharge.  I also get to make complicated recipes.  Making something complicated is very satisfying to me.  I enjoy trying to make something that is difficult and different.  This Thanksgiving was no different.  I started with my great aunt Laly's orange candy.  This was fun because I had to make it up as I went along.  She didn't write anything down so I had to remember everything I had witnessed during her preparations.  I did it!! It turned out great and wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be.

This time I wanted to make something crazy as well.  I found a recipe for Cassava Pasties.  These are made from grated cassava (yucca).  They are gluten free and that's a plus for anyone who can't consume gluten.  But they are amazingly good!  These beauties are very popular in the Dominican Republic and called catibias.  I found a recipe and adapted it from a Dominican cookbook.

The recipe starts with raw cassava root (yucca).  Grate it until it is a fine paste.  Bring a small amount of salted water to a rolling boil in a heavy bottomed pot.  Add the grated yucca and lower heat.  Cook, stirring constantly! until it is translucent and most of the mixture becomes a translucent dough.  Turn out onto an oiled surface and knead until cool.  Keep your hands wet to avoid sticking.  Tear off 1/8 cup amounts and pat them into disks.  Fill with desired filling.  I used cooked ground beef.

Fill the disks and fold over to form an empanada and press edges with the tines of a fork.  After you are done with the entire amount you can refrigerate until you are ready to deep fry them.  I think you can freeze them at this point also, but I didn't try.

Then deep fry and this is what they should look like.  They are very crispy on the outside and very soft and delicious on the inside.  You can also opt out of filling and just fry up the disks and that is very good also.
This didn't make very many so it looks like I'll be upping my ingredients next time!


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