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Puerto Rican Shrimp and Crab Empanadas

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Sauce Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon Sazon seasoning
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ to 2 cups stock, (chicken, vegetable or fish)
½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 oz. lump crabmeat
4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Sauce Directions
u Heat a 10-inch skillet over high heat until hot. Add the oil and sauté the onions and pepper for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened.
u Stir in the Sazon seasoning, tomato paste and enough stock to make a sauce; stir in enough stock to make the sauce as loose as you’d like. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to simmer for 3 minutes.
u Stir in the seafood, (be gentle with the crab and leave lots of big lumps) and cilantro. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through.

Empanada Ingredients
2 cups yuca, ground in the food processor until it is the consistency of grated coconut.
½ teaspoon adobo seasoning
1 clove garlic, put through the garlic press
1 ½ teaspoons annatto oil (recipe to follow)
1 banana leaf
Empanada Directions
u Cut the banana leaf into 4 rectangles about 8”x5.” Set aside.
u Heat a griddle on medium high heat, and lightly oil.
u Mix the yuca, adobo seasoning, garlic and annatto oil until combined. Be careful, the annatto oil will stain.
u Take a tennis ball size portion of the yuca mixture and put in the middle of a banana leaf. Squash the yucca mixture flat, until it is about the same size as a generous crab cake.
u Wrap the yuca in the banana leaf. Repeat with the remaining yuca and leaves.
u Grill the banana packets on the griddle for 3 minutes each side. Start with seam side down. Remove from the griddle and keep warm on the back of the stove.
u To assemble, unwrap the empanadas from the banana leaves. Top with a generous portion of sauce. Serve warm. Discard banana leaves.

Annatto Oil Ingredients
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup annatto seeds
Annatto Oil Directions
u Heat the oil in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the annatto seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until the oil becomes reddish and the seeds begin to crackle. Do not overcook, or the oil will become bitter. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the oil into a heatproof container. Let cool.
u Transfer the oil into a glass bottle, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.