Chihuahua City is the capital of Chihuahua State, the largest state in Mexico. Saint Rita of Cascia is our holy patron. Every year when may begins a huge fair comes to town, known as “la feria de Santa Rita” or St. Rita’s fair; and on St. Rita’s memorial (May 22nd) a beautiful party, known as “kermesse” is held outside St. Rita’s Temple.
All day long masses are celebrated, native dancers known as “matachines” dance throughout the day, people from the entire town comes to thank St. Rita, have a good time and to buy the famous “Empanadas de Santa Rita”.
This meal is very famous and coveted, the only problem is that May 22nd in the only day in THE YEAR that you can find them; unless of course that you have the recipe.
Empanadas de Santa Rita
(for 6 persons)
4 tbsp of cooking oil
17 oz ground beef
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
8 oz potatoes, chopped
3 oz peas, boiled
3 oz raisins
1 oz pecans, chopped (you can use almonds too)
Salt, pepper, cinnamon, ground clove
1 cup sherry
Beef broth (if needed)
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ stick softened butter
1 cup warm milk
*Extra sugar and cinnamon for decoration
For the stuffing:
1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the meat (previously seasoned with salt and pepper)
2. In another pan fry the garlic and the onion in the other 2 tbsp of oil, add the potatoes, the peas, the raisins and the pecans. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and clove.
3. Incorporate the meat and add the sherry. Let it cook at a low heat for 10-15 minutes
*if it gets too dry you can add a little beef broth.
For the pastry:
1. Mix together flour and salt, incorporate the butter and milk and knead until you have a smooth dough, let it stand for one hour covered with a napkin
1. Place the dough on a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 1/8 inch thick layer and cut the dough into small circles (7 in approximately)
2. Place enough filling in the middle of the dough circle. Carefully fold over the circle by half . Press together the edges with a fork (this will give the borders a nice finish). If the edges don't stick together, wet your finger with water and rub it along the inside edge of the dough and try again.
3. Fry the empanadas in enough hot oil until golden brown. Let them cool on a paper sheet to absorb the excess oil
4. Finally, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon while they’re still hot.