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Colombian Empanadas with Beef and Aji Verde

Featuring:
Rumba® Beef Oxtails

Ingredients

For Oxtails:

  • Rumba® Beef Oxtails (2 packages, about 3 pounds)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For Empanada Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onions (white part only)
  • 1 Roma tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

For Empanada Dough:

  • 3 cups precooked yellow cornmeal (masarepa)
  • 2 packets sazon Goya con azafran
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For Aji Verde:

  • 1 cup finely chopped green onion (white part only)
  • 1 Roma tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos or serrano peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar

Vegetable oil, as needed for frying empanadas

Instructions

  1. Season beef oxtails evenly with salt and black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add half of the oxtails and brown evenly over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside. Repeat with the other half of oxtails.
  2. Add browned oxtails back to Dutch oven. Add water to completely cover oxtails. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover with lid, and simmer over low heat for 2 hours until tender and oxtails reach an internal temperature of 160ºF. Remove oxtails from stock, cool, remove meat, and shred. Reserve.
  3. For empanada filling: Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper, and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add green onion, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, and reserved shredded oxtail meat. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to blend flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  4. For empanada dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine masarepa, sazon and salt. Add water and oil and mix to form dough. Add additional water if dough seems dry. Shape the dough into a ball and knead for 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough sit for 20 minutes.
  5. For aji verde: Combine all ingredients and stir to mix. Aji verde can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  6. To prepare empanadas: scoop a golf ball-size portion of dough and roll into a ball. Place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and press into a 4-inch round disc. Place a small portion of filling in the center of disc and fold the dough over the filling forming a half circle. Pinch edges to seal empanada. Repeat with remaining empanadas.
  7. Fill a heavy deep pot or electric skillet with oil and heat to 350ºF. Carefully place 4 empanadas in hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer empanadas to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining empanadas. Keep empanadas warm in a 200ºF oven while frying remaining empanadas, if desired.
  8. Serve warm empanadas with aji verde for dipping.