These Shredded Pork Empanadas might look a little intimidating because of the ingredient list and different components, but I swear it isn’t as scary as it looks.Jump to Recipe
Using Leftover Pulled Pork to Make Empanadas
One night we had pulled pork for dinner. It was one of those really simple dinners where the pork cooks in the crockpot with packaged seasoning all day. Ta-da!
By dinner time you have slightly sweet pulled pork ready for consumption on sandwiches topped with coleslaw. It was good but there was a TON of leftovers and I was tired of sandwiches and the slightly sweet taste of it.
I wanted some smoke and fire. And that’s how I finally latched onto the idea of shredded pork empanadas.
Shredded Pork Empanadas with Adobo Aioli Dip
Whenever I do something with leftovers, I try to keep it simple. Usually, I don’t change the original flavor profile too much because that’s more work. But I needed to make the pulled pork taste different. I also needed to use a lot of veggies that were about to go bad.
I thought empanadas were a good idea because you can make a filling that combines everything together in one delicious bite.
To make this easier, use pre-made empanada dough. The only reason I didn’t use it was because I couldn’t find any. I guess I could have tried using puff pastry dough or potsticker wrappers. But I made my own empanada dough using a recipe from the Food Network.
Blackened tomato and onion, homemade chicken stock, canned fire-roasted tomatoes, and chilies in adobo sauce mixed in a blender created a nice smoke and fire taste for the filling sauce.
For the filling, I sautéed poblano peppers, russet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and then added the pork and the filling sauce. You can use whatever you have on hand. But I do think the poblano pepper is important for adding that smoky flavor.
Finally, the adobo aioli sauce is just a simple combination of the filling sauce, lime juice, and mayonnaise. Dicing all the veggies really small and assembling the shredded pork empanadas probably takes the longest. But because the empanadas are fried, the cooking time is very short, usually about 1 minute for each side.
The Not-Really-Intimidating Recipe
Shredded Pork Empanadas with Adobo Aioli Dip
Empanada Dough (from Food Network, curtesy of Dee Dee Pujols)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 an onion quartered
- 1 small tomato quartered
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 to 4 chilies in adobo sauce
- 3 to 4 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 poblano pepper finely diced
- 1 russet potato finely diced
- 2 zucchini peeled and finely diced
- 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
- 4 small mushrooms diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups leftover shredded pulled pork
- 1 cup of Filling Sauce
- oil for frying
Adobo Aioli Dip
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- juice from 1/2 a lime
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoons Filling Sauce or to taste
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with two forks or a pastry blender until it resembles cornmeal.
Beat the egg and chicken stock together until well mixed. Add to the flour mixture and knead until dough forms and there are no streaks of egg color. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat the tomato and onion on high in a skillet until roasted and blackened. Add to a blender along with chicken stock, fire roasted tomatoes, chilies, and adobo sauce. Blend until completely smooth and set aside.
Mix together all the ingredients and place in the refrigerator.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When it is hot, add the diced poblano pepper and potato and cook until the potato has softened. Add all the veggies and sauté until tender. Add the salt and pepper and 1 cup of the filling sauce, stirring often.
Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and when you scrap the bottom of the pan with a spatula, it leaves a dry path.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
Lightly flour your counter top and roll the empanada dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut out into circles (4, 5, or 6 inches is good). Put a heaping tablespoon of filling on one side (or however much you can fit in), fold the dough over, and use a fork to seal the edges together. You can refrigerate the empanadas for 3 hours before frying them.
Heat enough oil in a frying pan to cover at least half of the empanadas. Place the tip of a wooden spoon on the surface of the frying pan. If bubbles rise, the oil is hot enough. Fry each side of the empanada for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Watch the heat. You might have to lower or raise it depending on how many empanadas you are frying. If they are frying too fast, lower the heat.
The prep time if you are making the empanada dough includes 30 minutes of wait time.
If you are using pre-made empanada dough, the prep time is decreased to 35 minutes.
Over the Rainbow
I finally feel like I’ve passed over to the other side of the healing rainbow: I’m on greener pastures now. I’ve solved the ostomy bag leaking mystery.
Apparently the key is to put it on while I’m laying down and I have a system in place that works. And although my skin around the stoma still looks raw, I’ve either become accustomed to the pain or my skin has adapted to its new environment.
Soon I’ll be experiencing my first long commute with an ostomy bag. I’m going to Reedsport, Oregon where my grandparents live. It’s an eight-hour drive and to reduce the number of times I have to empty my bag, I’m planning on eating very little the day before and nothing the day of travel.
I’m a little bummed that I won’t be able to crab because lifting anything over thirty pounds is still a big no-no. I’m still going to post but the content might be a little different and more spontaneous. Hopefully, I’ll share some tasty fresh seafood recipes with you as I enjoy the cool Oregon coast (goodbye awful 108 Cali weather).