Crab Quesadillas (empanadas)

Photo courtesy of Aspen Photography
1 tablespoon shortening or lard
1 cup masa harina
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup onion, 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup tomato, peeled, seeded, 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup pablano pepper, seeded, finely diced
8 ounces crab meat
salt and black pepper to taste
vegetable oil, as needed for frying

  1. Mix the lard, flour, and masa harina well.
  2. Add the stock (may need a little more) and salt. Knead until the dough is pliable and leaves the sides of the bowl fairly clean.
  3. Cover and let the dough rest about 1 hour.
  4. heat the 2 tablespoons oil and add the onions, tomato, and jalapeno. Cook until mixture is soft and begins to dry out.
  5. Fold in crab meat. Correct seasoning. Set aside.
  6. Press out tortillas. If rolling out tortillas between sheets of waxed paper, it is fairly easy to peel the paper off one side, fill the tortilla, and use the other sheet of paper to help fold the tortilla dough around the filling.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon stuffing to the middle of each tortilla. Fold in half and press edges together to seal (use a fork for more attractive hold). Repeat until all stuffing is used.
  8. Heat the frying oil to 375F.
  9. Fry the quesadillas, turning once or twice, until golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then serve immediately.
Chef: flaky dough, but holds together, consistent texture and nice color.

Personal/Team: This was OK, but I would prefer a flaky, non flour dough for the outside; too grainy. There was not enough filling for how much dough there was and the dough was starting to break as it folded over the filling.  Flavor of filling was good and could have used a little cheese.

Lessons Learned:
Making tortillas -- you may need to add more stock if the dough is too dry. recipe is a rough estimate, but basically should have the texture of play dough.
Using tortilla press- you can put 2 pieces of parchment, one on top of dough, one under and press, turn 90 degrees and press a second time to get consistent flatness. Keep the paper on one side of the dough and peel it off later. This way, you can stack the tortillas and not have them stick together.