Braised Pork Shoulder Empanadas

Braised Pork Shoulder Empanadas

I've found myself rather busy lately and without much time to sit down and cook. When I can peer into the future and see myself heading in eight different directions at once, I like to cut myself off at the pass and prepare a large batch of food for times when cooking is not going to be an option. Usually, this happens in the winter and large quantities of minestrone soup fits the bill. But seeing as it is now officially summer (and hot, hot, hot!), minestrone soup is sort of out of the question. Instead, I made this delicious little empanadas. Easy to make, and even easier to eat on the go, these little guys transport very well when you are no where near your dining room table.

2 lbs pork shoulder
3 cherry peppers
8 oz. farmers cheese
20 empanada wrappers
1 cup fresh cilantro, washed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2.5 cups orange juice
0.5 cups lime juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup grape seed oil
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seed
4 cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Several hours (or even the night before) you want to start cooking, grind up the allspice berries, cumin, and black pepper until they are every fine. Rub into the pork and let it sit (covered) in the fridge: at least 4 hours. Also, slice the cherry peppers thinly and place into a clean glass jar with 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup of cilantro. Screw on the jar and place in the fridge (for at least 4 hours).

Preheat your oven to 325F. In a large dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and gently saute, but to not burn. At this point, also add the pork shoulder. Allow the shoulder to brown, turning it to get every side. When browned all over, add the remaining orange juice and the lime juice. Cover and place in the oven for 2.5 hours, or until fork tender. Let the pork rest for 30 minutes after braising. Then shred the pork.

I like to take the braising liquid, which now has a TON of flavor, and reduce it on the stove until it is just under one cup of liquid. I then pour this over the shredded pork and add another 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro. It is only now that I would think about seasoning it with salt and pepper.

Next, heat up grape seed oil in a skillet for frying. While the oil is heating up, spread 1 tsp farmers cheese onto an emapanada wrapper. Top with a tbsp or so of the shredded pork, and a few slices of our pickled peppers.

Braised Pork Shoulder Empanadas

Make sure you are placing your filling off center. Fold over the empanada wrapper and crimp the edges together making a tight seal. Gently fry each empanada for a minute or two per side, until nice and golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.


brookeraymond said...

I've never heard of an empanada wrapper. Where do you find those? I suppose I could just make my own dough...

P H I L said...

you definitely could and i am sure they would be even better. i found some in the freezer section of my local supermarket. make sure to allow them to thaw thoroughly before using.