Monday, August 23, 2010

the great empanada adventure

another example of how rita and i fail at making pretty food. but it sure tasted delicious!we found 2 recipes la madre had printed out for us years ago, mushroom and butternut squash empanadas, and chicken empanada with chorizo, raisins, and and olives. since we had one of these (image courtesy of google):handy dandy (but not so much for uncoordinated people like us) pot sticker/empanada presses, we decided to make the second recipe as small empanadas instead of one big one. we also used pizza crust for both the doughs. because we're lazy like that.

as you can see, we became frustrated with the press system and ended up just rolling the ingredients in balls or dough. it worked. we also ran out of dough halfway through, hence the chicken, chorizo, raisin, and olive filling you see above, un-empanada-ed. we told everyone it was a stew.
Mushroom and Butternut Squash Empañadas
Gourmet | October 2002
chef Claire Archibald
Cafe Azul, Portland, OR
yield: Makes 8 first-course servings

For empanada filling

* 1 cup diced (1/4-inch) butternut squash
* 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
* 6 small garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 (2- to 3-inch) fresh jalapeño chiles, seeds and ribs discarded and chiles finely chopped
* 1 pound fresh exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcini, or hedgehogs (all one kind, not a mixture), trimmed and coarsely chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup chicken broth

For sauce

* 1 dried pasilla de Oaxaca chile*
* 3 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
* 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks discarded and tomatillos rinsed and quartered
* 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

For empanada crust

* 1/3 Café Azul's pastry dough (1 pound)
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
* 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt


Make empanada filling:
Cook squash in a small saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes, then drain in a sieve.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add jalapeños and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms, salt, and broth and simmer, covered, until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes, then stir in squash and salt to taste. Cool filling completely.

Make sauce:
Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately low heat until hot, then toast pasilla de Oaxaca chile, pressing down with tongs, 15 to 20 seconds on each side. Halve chile lengthwise and discard stem, ribs, and seeds.

Heat griddle over moderately high heat until hot, then toast garlic until lightly blackened, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cool garlic slightly and peel.

Simmer tomatillos, onion, water, chile, garlic, and salt in a large saucepan, covered, until tomatillos are very tender, about 20 minutes, and cool slightly. Remove 1 chile half and reserve, then purée sauce in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), adding as much of reserved chile half as necessary to achieve desired spiciness. Return sauce to pan and season with salt.

Form and bake empanadas:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces (2 ounces each) and form each into a disk. Roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface into a 6- to 7-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Spoon about 1/3 cup filling onto center and brush edge of pastry lightly with egg wash. Fold dough in half to form a half-moon, enclosing filling, and press edges together to seal. Crimp edge decoratively and transfer empanada with a spatula to a large baking sheet. Make 7 more empanadas in same manner.

Lightly brush empanadas all over with some of remaining egg wash and sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

While empanadas are baking, reheat sauce. Cut each empanada in half with a serrated knife and serve with about 3 tablespoons sauce spooned around it.

* Available at Latino markets and Kitchen/Market (888-468-4433).
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cafe azul's pastry dough (which we didn't make. but you can!)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 sticks (2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • About 3/4 cup ice water

Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

Beat egg with vinegar in a 1-cup measure using a fork, then add enough ice water to measure 1 cup total. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until incorporated.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with heel of your hand just enough to bring dough together. Roll out or pat into a 15- by 9-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with short side nearest you, then fold into thirds like a letter to form a roughly 5- by 9-inch rectangle. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 6 (do not chill longer or dough will discolor).

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and, finally, chicken empanada [or empanadas, or stew] with chorizo, raisins, and olives
serves 12, as a tapa
  • 3 whole chicken legs, including thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 1/3 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage; 1 1/2 oz; casings discarded if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (not hot)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed


Make filling:
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning over once, about 6 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaves in fat remaining in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, raisins, wine, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer chicken, covered, turning over once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it's not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.) When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and coarsely chop meat. Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Form and bake empanada:
Form dough into a ball, then wrap in oiled plastic wrap (oiled side in) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) with 1 tablespoon oil.

Divide dough in half, then roll out 1 half (keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap) on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle and transfer to baking pan. Spread filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border, and moisten border with water. Roll out remaining dough in same manner, then arrange over filling and press edges together to seal. Roll edges in and press to form a decorative rim. Make a 1-inch hole (a steam vent) in center of empanada.

Bake empanada 15 minutes, then brush crust with 3/4 tablespoon oil and bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven and brush empanada with remaining 3/4 tablespoon oil. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a rack, then slide empanada onto rack using a wide metal spatula and cool to warm.

Cut empanada into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

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phew, all done!


Anonymous said...

Whoa. And I thought tamales were complicated. (Not difficult; just so many steps to get to the final glorious moment of eating the first one!) So glad you introduced us to Srirachi - wait - I have to go look at the bottle for the spelling. I mean, Sriracha! It really added the perfect touch to the tamales.
Did you get a copy of the recipe? The tamale sauce is good on its own.

I love you darling ladies!

Hannah said...

Hey, it's usually the messiest food that's tastiest, in my experience! Besides, that butternut filling sounds awesome.