- In a skillet over medium heat, soften the onion, celery and garlic in the oil. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse all the ingredients until coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oil in a deep fryer to 325°F (165°C). Line a baking sheet with paper towels or place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the corn masa flour, turmeric and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the water and continue stirring for 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Using scissors, cut off three sides of a large sealable freezer bag to obtain a large rectangle when opened like a book. Place 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the dough in the centre of one half of the plastic. Fold the other half overtop. Flatten into a 5 1/2-inch (14 cm) disc. Carefully remove the top layer of plastic and place 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the filling in the centre of the disc. Lift the disc with the plastic and fold the dough over the filling, forming a half-moon. Press to seal the edges. Gently remove from the plastic. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, placing the empanadas upright on a large plate.
- Fry 3 empanadas at a time for 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, turning them halfway through cooking. Watch out for splattering. Drain on the paper towels. Freeze at this stage, if desired. Serve with the cilantro sauce.
Instant corn masa flour can be found in most supermarkets or Latin American grocery stores. It cannot be replaced by standard corn flour.
The dough is very sticky, so try using a plastic bag to help shape the empanadas. It’ll stop the corn masa mixture from clinging to your fingers.