Venezuelan Tongue Empanadas
Venezuelan empanadas are half-moon shaped sweet/savory dough pastries that are traditionally fried, and prepared with precooked cornmeal, which is what makes them so crispy and different from the rest of the empanadas in the continent.
They can be filled with just about anything! Many places in Venezuela make them with the most incredible fillings.
The most common are shredded meat, ground meat, chicken, dogfish, cheese, caraotas (black beans), and pabellón.
Growing up it was a tradition to eat tongue. My family prepares it in many delicious ways. For some it may seem exotic, but believe me, it is a delicious cut of meat.
The first time my mom made the empanadas I was little. She never told me what it was, until I had cleaned my plate and praised how delicious they were.
That is why I want to share with you this recipe, it is my family’s legacy. If you have not tried tongue empanadas, I recommend you do so, because it is a very tender and delicious meat (It is similar to the meat brisket or skirt, but more tender).
In Venezuela, empanadas are a dish that you can eat at any time: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Second to arepas, the empanadas are one of the most famous and requested breakfasts.
It is a custom to eat the empanadas accompanied by a garlic sauce, tartar or guasacaca sauce. Depending on the region of Venezuela the flavors of the sauces varies.
Venezuelan Tongue Empanadas
- 1 package Rumba® Beef Tongue
- 1 medium onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 springs of parsley
- 2 coriander springs
- ½ cup of water or wine
- 1 tbsp of garlic powder
- 1 tbsp of cumin
- 1 tbsp of rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of annato powder (or paprika)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups of precooked cornmeal
- 2 cup of warm water (or a little more)
- 1 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of anato
- 2 tablespoons or turmeric
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 2 tbsp of chia
- 2 tablespoons of flaxseed
- 3 tbsp of oats
- 1 egg
- Place the tongue in a pot with water and cook until it softens, add 1 bay leaf and salt. If you cook it in the slow cooker, like I did, cook it for 8 hours and it will be very easy to shred
- Peel the tongue and remove the fat
- Shred the meat
- In a frying pan, place the olive oil and add the garlic and onion
- When the onion is transparent, add the shredded tongue and fry it
- Add the tomato and wine (or water)
- Add the seasonings and cook until well dried.
- Place warm water in a bowl, add the salt
- Add the corn flour and stir
- Add the anato and the turmeric and knead well until you achieve a manageable, non-sticky dough
- Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes
- Stretch plastic wrap on the counter
- Place a ball of dough on the counter on the plastic and cover with half the plastic wrap
- With a plate, press to flatten the dough in a circular shape
- Put a tablespoon of meat, not a lot so it doesn’t come out when closed
- Fold the dough in a crescent shape with the help of the plastic wrap
- With the help of a bowl you can shape the closing of the empanada
- As you make the empanadas, place them in a greased tray, with a silicone mat or with waxed paper
- Coat with beaten egg or olive oil so that they are golden brown and crisp.
Cook in the oven:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Place in oven
- Bake for 20 minutes.
Cooking in the air fryer:
- Place the empanadas very carefully in the air fryer so they do not stick together.
- To prevent sticking: Pre-bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F. Place parchment paper on the bottom and make holes to allow air to circulate.
- Cook at 400 degrees F. 7 minutes each side.
Tips for perfect empanadas: You may add 1 tsp of your preferred sweetener to the dough. Adding 2 tablespoons of wheat flour or cornstarch will make a crunchier empanada. It is important that the meat mixture is dry; if it is too moist it will break through the dough when they are cooking.