Brazilian Empanadas

Chef Leandro Benacchio learned his gaucho style of cooking as a child in Brazil. Now he serves authentic meat in a more casual, relaxed way at the restaurant Fogo de Chao in Uptown and Addison.

Brazilian Empanadas

1 Pound Ground Picanha, 80/20
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups Yellow Onions Diced
1/2 cup Bell Peppers
1/2 Tbsp. Garlic minced
1 Cups Tomatoes, Diced
1 Tsp. Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp. Ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 Tsp. Cumin
1/4 Cup Green Onions, Sliced
1/4 Cup Parsley, fresh chopped
10 Empanada Dough Rounds

Heat a large skilled over medium high heat, add oil blend. Add onions and garlic to sweat for 5 minutes.

Add ground piranha and brown over medium heat. Add drained bell peppers, tomatoes, and mix until well incorporated. Add salt, ketchup, cumin and Worcestershire sauce; mix and cook for 8-10 minutes on low heat.

Turn off stove, add green onions and parsley, mix well to incorporate. Cool Mix

Placed thawed empanada dough on a clean work surface. Cut dough round in half. Arrange half-circles flat on work surface and place 1 tablespoon of the ground picanha mixture on one half of the dough. Repeat until all half-circles have filling. Use a finger to apply cool water to the very outside of the half-circle.Repeat on each dough half-circle. Gently pick up the side of the dough that does not have filling and fold it over the filling. Press down to adhere on the other side of the dough. Keep all filling inside dough- push in as needed.

Use the prongs of a fork to crimp and seal the 2 open sides of the pastel. Repeat with all remaining pastels. Place in the cooler for 30 minutes.

Crispy Parmesan Polenta Fries

8 oz. Polenta, cooked/prepared
As Needed Yellow Corn Meal
1 Tsp. Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1 1/2 oz. Malagueta Aioli, prepared

Cut a small block of cooked and cooled polenta from pan. Place on cutting board and either press through 1⁄4" dicer or cut into 1⁄4" strips wide and 2-3" in length.

Gently dust polenta fries with yellow corn flour and shake off any excess. This will help to prevent the polenta fries from sticking together while cooking.

Place cut polenta fries in a fryer basket and lower into 350°F oil for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden in color.

Remove basket from oil, drain polenta fries and transfer to a paper lined surface to absorb any excess oil.

Place in a mound on service piece and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Place a ramekin of Malagueta aioli on the service piece. Serve immediately.