Promoting Canadian Oats

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These empanadas are a healthy version of the beloved dish in two ways: first, the dough is made with 70% oat flour and 30% whole-wheat flour. Second, they are baked, not fried, making them both healthier and easier to create at home. 

Ingredients

For the dough:

3 cups (270 g) whole oats
1 cup (120 g) whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup (57 g) lard or butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (240 mL) boiling water

For the filling:

1/2 pound (450 g) ground beef
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon pimentón dulce or sweet paprika
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
Beef or chicken broth, as necessary, or use water
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and roughly chopped

Directions

Make the oat flour: 

  1. Place 3 cups whole oats in a food processor or blender. Blend until you have a fine flour.
  2. Measure out 2 ¼ cups of the oat flour and mix it with 1 cup of whole-wheat flour in a medium bowl. 

Make the dough: 

  1. Put 1 cups boiling water, 1/4 cup butter or lard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large mixing bowl. Stir to melt lard and dissolve salt. 
  2. Cool to room temperature, then gradually stir in the flour until you have a firm dough. 
  3. Knead gently for 2-3 minutes, then wrap the dough and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. 

Make the filling: 

  1. Season chopped beef generously with salt and pepper and set aside for 10 minutes. 
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons lard or oil in a large pan. Add the beef and fry until nicely browned, about 5 minutes, then add the onion and cook for the 10 minutes more. 
  3. Add the potatoes, garlic, thyme, and oregano, season again with salt and pepper, then stir in the tomato paste, pimenton, and cayenne, then a cup of broth or water. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until meat and potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. 
  5. Taste and add salt and cayenne according to your preference. Stir in the scallions, then let the filling cool.
  6. Once filling is cool, stir in the sliced hard-cooked eggs. 

Shape the empanadas:

  1. Divide the chilled dough into 16 equal balls. Roll each piece into a circle a little larger than the palm of your hand (about 5 inches / 12.5 centimeters across). 
  2. Place 2-3 tablespoons of filling in the center of each circle.
  3. Moisten the outer edge of each round with water, then fold each circle into a half-circle, pressing the edges together with the tines of a fork. 
  4. If you wish, you can make the edges perfectly smooth by trimming them with a paring knife or pizza cutter. 

Bake the empanadas: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C. 
  2. Place empanadas on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter or lard and bake for 15 minutes. 

Serve with your favorite salsa and a side salad! 

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