Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Traveling is a passion of mine but food and cooking is LIFE!! I love try different dishes that are a part of the culture of the country that I am visiting and also love to recreate those dishes when I return home. On my most recent trip….the one I was able to take in late February of this year before the world shut down was to Cartagena, Colombia. This trip was amazing for so many reasons! For one, it was a GIRLSSSSSS trip! So, almost a week off of mommy and wifey duties to hang with my friends. It was a group girls trip so there were women I met for the first time once I arrived but we all vibed the entire trip like we had known each other for years. Secondly, it was my first time to South America! It was nice to check off another continent off my travel bucket list. Lastly, of course the FOOD!!! I was lucky because my dear friend Jill had visited the city of Cartagena before and she had great restaurant and café suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Once the world opens again, you must visit Cartagena for the culture and the FOOD.
When I go out of the country and visit a place that I have never been or have any recommendations for, I follow IG hashtags for a few weeks before my trip. It is a great way to find suggestions for the best places to eat, most popular places for a photo op, and best places to SHOP. All three are my favorite things to do when I travel.
While visiting Cartagena, I was able to kill two birds with one stone on the rooftop at the Hyatt Regency Cartagena Hotel. In most of the #cartagena hashtags that I followed, the rooftop at the Hyatt Regency was trending so I knew I had to visit this hotel during my stay. And I am so glad that I did. The rooftop at this hotel is absolutely breathtaking. The roofop has 4 separate pool areas, a bar and of course amazing service.
Although, we didn’t stay at this hotel we did spend our last day there enjoying the pool, taking in the views, sipping some mojitos, and eating some amazing empanadas.
The empanadas that I had at the Hyatt were life changing. So much so…we placed a second order while enjoying our pool time on the rooftop.
So, naturally when I returned home I wanted to try and recreate my version of them. This recipe involves making your own dough for the empanadas and honestly the dough is my favorite part. You can find empanada dough in the frozen section of some grocery stores but making it from scratch makes it taste so much better. Here’s how to make it!
Ingredients for the Empanada Dough
3 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of Crisco
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup of chicken stock
For the Empanada dough
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the Crisco with a pastry blender tool until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then whisk in the stock. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and knead until a dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Ingredients for the Empanada Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Oil for frying
For the Empanada Filling
1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook until the beef is cooked completely.
2. Drain the grease and set the beef aside. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, oregano, seasoned salt, garlic, bell peppers and onions. Cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the beef back into the skillet and simmer on low for about 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 4-, 5- or 6-inch rounds, depending on how large you prefer. I used a martini glass but save yourself some time and use this dough press set. It will allow you to cut the empanadas to the perfect size and will press the dough for you. No crimping with a fork needed. Add a few tablespoons of filling to the center of your dough. Fold the dough over in half to enclose the filling. Use a fork to press and seal the edges closed.
5. Heat the o