Kentucky Bison Empanadas

Kentucky Bison Empanadas

Makes 16 to 20 turnovers

For the dough
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 Spanish onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 pound ground bison
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon Adobo Rub (p. 245), plus more as needed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Nonstick cooking spray
1 large egg, beaten with a little water, for brushing
Salsa Verde (p. 243) or Latino Butter (p. 236), for serving

Make the dough:

  1. Put the flour and salt in the large bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend. Add the egg and butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, add the ice water and continue to process just until the mixture comes together, forming a ball.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a wooden cutting board or work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Shape into a large disk (7 to 8 inches), cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour and no more than 8 hours.
  3. When ready to roll out the dough, cut the disk in half, rewrap one half, and return it to the refrigerator.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. On a wooden board or work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out the other half of the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness.
  6. Cut into rounds using a 4-inch-diameter cutter.
  7. Place the dough rounds on the prepared baking sheet, keeping them covered with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.
  8. Reroll the dough scraps into a ball, roll out to 1/8-inch thickness, and cut out more rounds.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should end up with 16 to 20 rounds.
  10. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Make the filling:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the onion and saute for about 1 minute, and then add the garlic and bison, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with the salt.
  3. Cook the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meat is lightly browned, continuing to break it into small pieces.
  4. Stir in the Adobo Rub and cook for another minute, then taste for seasonings and adjust the salt and/or Adobo as needed.
  5. If there are any juices in the pan, turn up the heat and cook until there’s no additional liquid. The dough will curb the spiciness of the mixture, so you may want to add additional spice and salt, to taste.
  6. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro, cover, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to cool.
  7. Fill and bake the empanadas
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  9. Remove the pan of dough rounds from the refrigerator.
  10. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of the bison mixture onto the center of one round, then fold the dough over to form a half circle.
  11. With a finger or pastry brush, lightly wet the outside edge of the round with water (this will help to seal the dough). Crimp the edges with your fingers or the tines of a fork to seal.
  12. Arrange the filled empanada on the prepared baking sheet. Continue with the other dough rounds. (The filling makes a little more than what you’ll use for the empanadas. Save the leftovers for a bison taco or two.)
  13. At this point, the empanadas can be lightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours until ready to bake. They can also be placed in the freezer on the baking sheet and, once frozen, transferred to a zip-top bag for longer storage.
  14. When ready to bake, heat a convection oven to 350°F.
  15. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash, then bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. (If baking chilled or thawed empanadas, adjust the baking time.)
  16. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with Salsa Verde or Latino Butter

 For more recipes like this, get the official cookbook from Chef Anthony Lamas of Seviche – Southern Heat: New Southern Cooking Latin Style