Ancho Pork and Collard Green Empanadas

Ancho braised pork and stewed collard greens, wrapped in a pastry dough made with masa. Deep-fried and served with green tomato salsa.

This dish has a lot going on and the preparation time is quite lengthy. The good news is that all of the recipes can be made a day or two in advance. Even the empanadas can be made ahead.

It’s important to note that collard greens are tough and leathery. Slow cooking them with some acid (tomato and vinegar) helps to break down the tough exterior and soften them. The stems from the greens are edible. But for this recipe, I eliminated them to help with the cooking time. If you would like to keep them in, finely mince them and add them to the onions when cooking.

The empanada dough is made with a little bit of masa harina. This adds some flavor and crunchiness. The masa also makes the dough more difficult to work with. When forming, it will be crumbly. When rolling and shaping, it will tear more easily. The masa can be eliminated from the recipe and all-purpose flour substituted in its place. Other than that, the dough is like any other pie dough. Cut the butter into the flour, mix with the liquid, rest, roll out, and cut the rounds. Then the real fun begins, shaping the empanadas!

Shaping empanadas takes practice. The more filling inside the harder they are to shape. Place the filling in the center of the rounds. Brush one side of the round with water. I find it easiest to pick up the round, holding it like a taco, and press the filling into a half-moon shape. Then, press the two sides of the dough together to seal them. Place the empanada on a floured surface. Crimp the edges with a fork being careful not to press through the dough. If the fork starts sticking, dip it into flour before each crimp. As the dough gets warm it becomes harder to work with. You may want to refrigerate the rounds working with a few at a time. Shape all the empanadas and refrigerate while your oil is heating up. This will help them maintain their shape during frying.

The empanadas are best right out of the oil. But they will stay fresh for a couple of hours at room temperature. If they need to be reheated, place them in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve them with green tomato salsa and crema or sour cream.

Ancho Pork and Collard Green Empanadas

Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 15 pieces

Ingredients

Collard Greens

  • 1/4 pound collard greens stems removed and rough chopped
  • 2-3 green onions chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 fresno chili deseeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Green Tomato Salsa

  • 3/4 cup onion diced
  • 1 fresno chili deseeded and minced
  • 2 cups green tomato diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 lime juiced

Empanadas

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp butter cold
  • 1 1/2 cups ancho braised pork or other pulled pork
  • oil for frying

Instructions

Collard Greens

  • Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Sweat the garlic and the fresno chili.
  • Add the green onions, tomato, and collard greens and cook until everything starts to wilt.
  • Add all other ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 2-3 hours until the greens are tender and the liquid is cooked out.
  • Cool the mixture completely.

Green Tomato Salsa

  • Heat a pan with the oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and fresno and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the tomato and all other ingredients except the lime juice. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  • Cool and mix in lime juice.

Empanadas

  • Combine flour, masa and salt
  • Combine egg, water and vinegar
  • Cut the butter into cubes and cut into the flour mixture.
  • When there are no large chunks of butter remaining, mix in the egg mixture.
  • Knead the dough a couple of times just until smooth. Wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • On a floured surface roll the dough into 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2 inch diameter cutter, cut as many rounds from the dough as possible. Gather the scraps for back into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of pork with the chilled collard greens.
  • Reroll the rest of the dough and cut rounds. Discard any scraps. There should be 15 rounds.
  • Fill each round with 1 1/2-2 tbsp of pork filling. Brush one side with water and fold in half. Press the two sides together and crimp with a fork. Repeat until all empanadas have been made. Chill until ready for frying.
  • Heat a pot of oil until it reaches 350 degrees. Fry empanadas until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt.
  • Serve with green tomato salsa and crema.

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