Healthy Living Market and Cafe has a wonderful Educational Center. Some friends and I recently went to a Ladies Night Out cooking class where we got step-by-step instructions on how to make empanadas from Shannon Beckwith, Chef Instructor/Food Educator at Healthy Living Market . Shannon shared her food philosophy with us, “make it from scratch, it’ll be 1000 times better for you.” I couldn’t agree more.
Shannon uses the ‘watch then do’ method when teaching a class. Our class made empanadas. Shannon would have us gather around her while she demonstrated, step by step, what she was doing. Then we would go off to our work stations so we could do what she just showed us.
We made cinnamon scented beef empanadas with black currants and chicken chipotle empanadas. We started off by making the dough. Shannon showed us how to mix the dough so that when you add the shortening, it’s the right texture. Having someone show you exactly what to look for when making pastry dough is nice – especially if you don’t have much experience. The other thing I liked about the class was how informal it was. I’ve included the empanada pastry recipe below.
Empanadas are a good way to use up leftover meat and vegetables you have in the house. They’re easy to make and because they’re little ‘packets’ they’re also kid friendly. Make the empanada pastry, refrigerate for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the filling, assemble (have the kids help you) and fry up.
Another tip we learned is the best oil to use when frying – Shannon likes canola – and how to tell when your oil is hot enough for frying. Insert a wooden spoon in the oil, if bubbles appear around the spoon, your oil is hot enough.
The result? A nice flaky pastry with a savory, flavorful filling inside. See what I’m talking about?
If you’ve never made empanadas before, give them a try. Our Ladies Night Out was a blast. There are lots of other classes and demos offered at Healthy Living Market’s Learning Center. Click here to learn more.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ up ice water
- Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a food processor fit with a blade.
- Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture is a fine meal.
- With the machine running, add the water slowly until it forms a ball (you may not need all the water).
- Refrigerate 20-30 minutes and then roll dough on a lightly floured counter - about ⅛" thick.
- Cut dough into 12 - 4" circles.