In a large bowl (or in a large food processor fitted with pastry blade), combine flour and salt. Add shortening to the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or the food processor to combine the shortening with the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.
Add water and combine just until the mixture can be formed into a ball. Do not over mix! Separate into 4 flattened dough balls. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To make empanada filling:
Clean potatoes and pierce several times with a fork. Microwave for about 6 minutes, until tender, turning half way through. Allow to cool slightly and then dice.
For empanada filling, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Cook ground beef and garlic salt until beef is cooked completely. Drain the grease and remove beef to a separate container.
In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add the remaining spices and bell peppers and onions. Cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat until they begin to soften.
Add the ground beef and diced potatoes and continue to cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
To assemble empanadas:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured work surface till a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 5 inch rounds and fill with a large spoonful of meat filling.
Lightly wet the edges of the dough with your finger or a pastry brush. Carefully fold the dough over the filling and pinch to seal. Using a fork, press the tines into the edges to completely seal them.
Place empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk.
Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown color.
If frying, heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas until golden brown turning over if necessary to brown the top, about 5-7 minutes.Here are a few ways you can make empanadas less time consuming.
Use precooked ground beef. I often buy 3 pound packages and cook it all up and divide it into 3 Ziploc freezer bags to store in the freezer for recipes like this. It helps cut down on a lot of prep time.
Use leftover potatoes. When meal planning, if I want to make a recipe like this where I know I need cooked potatoes I'll plan something the night before that also uses cooked potatoes. Cook once, use twice!
Make the filling ahead. Since the filling needs to be cool before trying to fill the pie dough circle, this works out even better if you make it the night before or the morning of. Stick it in the fridge and it's all ready to go for dinner.
Use premade pie dough. Especially if you are making this with children, take all the shortcuts you can. Storebought pie dough will totally be okay.