Beef Empanadas

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      Beef Empanadas
      Empanada Dough: Combine 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt in large bowl. Cut in 1/2 cup lard with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add 1/2 cup water, stirring until mixture forms ball.

      Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 5 min or until smooth and pliable.
      Filling: 1 lb lean ground beef
      1/4 cup each chopped onions and green peppers
      3 slices smoked ham, finely chopped
      2 tbs zesty Italian dressing
      2 tbs tomato sauce
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      1 cup oil
      Prepare Empanada Dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

      Set aside while preparing empanada filling.
      Brown ground beef in medium skillet on medium heat. Drain. Add onions, peppers, ham, dressing, tomato sauce and garlic.

      Mix well. Simmer on medium-low heat 10 min, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

      Stir in cilantro.
      Shape dough into 12 balls, using about 2 tbs dough for each. Flatten each ball into 6-in round. Spoon about 1/4 cup meat mixture onto center of each round.

      Moisten edges with water. Fold dough rounds in half to enclose filling. Press lightly on tops to remove air pockets.

      Seal edges with fork.
      Heat oil in large deep skillet to 375°. Add empanadas, in small batches. Cook 3 min on each side or until golden brown on both sides.

      Remove from oil with slotted spoon. Drain well. Cool slightly.

      Serves 6
      beaverhug smilie

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