Rhubarb Empanadas on Maine Public Radio

I don't know how Latin Americans get away with eating deep fried pie, but all across the world they do. I think it's time us Northerners get in on it. Rhubarb cooked with sugar and a little corn starch is as divine as traditional guava paste. Here's a link to the radio story.

Serves 10, plus leftovers for spreading on toast for breakfast throughout the week.
Cooking time: 45 min.

3 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp water
empanada dough*

*Find Goya brand ready-made empanada discs at supermarkets in the freezer of the international isle (I found these at Hannaford in Portland, ME). Or make your own dough from scratch following this YouTube video. Thaw frozen dough in the fridge or on the counter before using. Correction to the MPBN story - I don't think regular pie crust would hold together well enough. Unlike regular pie crust, empanada dough has egg and vinegar in it.

1) Slice rhubarb into 1/2 inch thick rounds. In a medium sauce pan, combine rhubarb with sugar and butter and cook covered on medium high, stirring intermittently, until soft and juicy. Uncover for another 15 minutes, stirring every so often.

2) When the chunks have disappeared, combine corn starch and water and stir into the rhubarb mixture. Bring back to a boil to thicken, then cool. (The cooler it is, the thicker it becomes).

3) Put a rounded tablespoon of rhubarb filling in the center of a disc of dough. Fold dough over making a half circle shape. Seal the edges shut by pressing a fork into the edges. Assemble the rest while you heat a pan 1-2 inches deep with vegetable oil for deep frying. (A large plan uses more oil but allows you to fry 3 at a time; a small fits one at a time). Get tongs or a slotted spoon and a sheet pan or bowl lined with paper towels ready for removing the hot empanadas. To test if the oil is hot enough, dip a corner of the empanada in. If it bubbles, it's ready, if nothing happens, your oil needs to be hotter. If you have a candy thermometer, a good temp for the oil is 350 degrees.

4) Deep fry empanadas in oil until golden brown on all sides, flipping once if necessary. This should take 3-4 minutes. Another clue that they're done is that they stop bubbling. Remove empanada from oil with tongs and let dry on paper towel. Eat 'em while they're hot. If you have a large pot you can cook two or three at a time. A smaller pot uses less oil, but you must cook them one at a time. Use leftover rhubarb filling on toast or with ice cream or yogurt and granola throughout the week.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2012