Catholic Recipe: Empanadas
Also Called: Turnovers
St. John the Baptist was highly honored throughout the whole Church from the earliest times. In Constantinople, the ancient capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire, no fewer than fifteen churches were dedicated to him. The fact that Christ praised him so highly (Matthew 11:11) encouraged a special veneration, of course.
A popular feature of St. John's Day is the celebration of the ancient summer festival of the pre-Christian era. From Scandinavia to Spain, fires are lighted on mountains and hilltops, people gather in the open around a bonfire on the eve of the feast and perform their traditional folk dances.
The Church has a special blessing for the "St. John's Bonfire," and in many places wine is also blessed in honor of the Saint. Various traditional pastries or desserts are eaten on St. John's Day in different sections of Europe. Also, the first products of the spring harvest are served on this day in rural sections of southern Europe.
Empanadas are Mexican and Spanish single-serving turnovers usually with a pastry crust on the outside and a meat and vegetable filling, but sometimes they can be filled with fruit and served as dessert.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt into bowl. Cut in butter. Add enough water to hold dough together. Divide into twelve even portions. Roll out each piece 1/8 inch thick, making rounds 3-4 inches in diameter. Place a teaspoon of filling on one half of each round, wet edges with water, fold other half over and press edges together firmly to seal. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
Cooked, chopped chicken, fresh tomato peeled and cut in small pieces, and chopped peeled green chilies.
Shrimps, hard-cooked eggs, pimientos, all chopped.
Flaked tuna, with chopped green onion, lemon juice, chopped hard-cooked egg and a little mayonnaise.
Leftover meats, chopped with cheese.
Cooked chicken, pimientos and stuffed olives, chopped, combined with grated Swiss cheese.Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965