Monday, July 8, 2013

empanadaaaa (also known as fire fire!!)

i almost wish i had gotten a picture of the oven after i had melted the microwave plastic cover thing in it when i was preheating the oven...but what should have been a rather straight forward foray into empanada making became a multi hour ordeal of how to scrap dried plastic off oven surfaces and glued to metal racks. but i'm hoping i'll never forget to check the oven again (and baking soda does put out a plastic fire :)

moving onto happier more yummy topics. luckily, we have a mini oven so while the burnt smells of plastic got to cool in the actual oven my empanadas could still get baked (although in baby batches of four...i suppose a sort of physical moderation on the speed of my consumption)

doesn't this one look like a spotted cow?? as i'm moving to vt in a little over a month, seems like a good omen! 
there was that adventure actually making the empanada shells a while back with s4. but buying premade are just so easy. i take my short cuts where i can. these babies are kind of like the stir frys i make for the parents- stuffed with any ol vegetable i find in the house. the great thing about empanadas (dumplings, momos, samosas or whatever form yours takes, is that it can really be stuffed with anything you want. the empanada shells are a pastry shell so it can handle all sorts of flavors, as you'll see later with a sweet version).

this recipe came from the mexican food blog i found that i mentioned last time. loosely adapted but i liked all the spice ideas she had (along with some of my own add-ins).

Tuna and Veggie Empanadas (makes about 13*)
adapted from Pati's Mexican Table

Olive oil (for skillet)
3/4 c chopped onion
1 T minced garlic, or to taste
2 handfuls kale, chopped (w/o stalk)
1 c frozen mushrooms, thawed with water remaining
1 ear of steamed corn, kernels removed
1/2 c black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4-1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2-1 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 T dried parsley
2 cans 5 oz chunk light tuna in water, lightly drained
2 T salsa, just b/c i had it leftover

To make empanadas
1 packet Goya empanada discos (containing 10)
1 egg

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute. Add the kale, mushrooms and black beans and cook out the water. Add the tuna and salsa (or chopped tomatoes) and then all the spices. Cook until soft. Taste for salt. My mix was dry but if you add tomatoes and really let it cook down you will have something more mushy and moist.

Brush the egg (I just had the yolk, I used the egg white at breakfast) around the edges of a disco and then scoop 1/4 cup of the filling into the middle. Press it to fold over the circle and seal the edges of the empanada with the tines of a fork until sealed. If baking immediately preheat oven to 350F and brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. If not using immediately, lay out the empanadas on a tray not letting them touch and freeze until solid then transfer to a bag.

*I realize the goya comes in packs of 10, and yes, it is obnoxious to have to buy another set of 10 just to make 3, kind of like having an odd number of hot dogs to hot dog buns, but based on the ingredients i used i had this many, so feel free to decrease any vegetable or ingredient you're not wild about, b/c if not, you'll buy more empanada shells and think you actually need 2 more sets and then the craziness never ends.

another savory version to test out. i actually preferred the tuna one over this one, but M&D both voted this one as their favorite (i swear if i put cheese in anything my mother will absolutely gobble it up).

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas 
Makes 10

1 large sweet potato (mine was 0.95 lbs)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 c onions, chopped
olive oil
garlic, to taste
salt, to taste
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried chili powder
1/4 c shredded pepperjack cheese

10 empanada shells, defrosted
egg wash (egg + 1 T water)*

Bake the sweet potato about 15-20 minutes at 400F until easily pierced by a fork. Unwrap and let cool then mash in a large bowl. While the potato cooks saute the onion in olive oil until translucent then add garlic and cook for a little longer. Add to mashed potatoes and add beans and spices. Combine and let cool.  Spread egg wash on the edges of the empanada shell then scoop 1/4 of the filling, fold over the shell and seal the edges together (with fork or fingers). Brush the outside with the egg wash.* Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Or you can freeze them and not brush the egg wash across the outside. 

*making an egg wash as i learned from Pati's site makes the stuff last longer, but also gave that spotting browning (as in my cow) and sort of inconsistent browning. my batch with kale had just egg yolk brushed onto it.

a sweet empanada, the empanada shell can handle any sort of flavor. i'm thinking for D next time i'll go for a thanksgiving empanada and just put in shredded turkey, mashed potato, corn and maybe some peas or something. his tastebuds would probably handle that better ;) the empanadas are pretty high calorically (not that two won't be more than filling) but i made up for that by making all the fillings very much on the healthy side, including this sweet creation. which is probably why it came in last place for flavor for M. 

Apple, Cranberry and Pecan Empanadas
Makes 10

3 medium apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1/4 of an orange, squeezed for the juice
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg, optional
heaping 1/4 c dried cranberries or raisins
1/4 pecans, chopped

Cook down the apples with the orange juice in a pot (about 15-20 minutes until tender). Let cool. Drain juice in a colander over a bowl.  Transfer cooked apples to a large bowl and mix in spices, dried cranberries and pecans.  Brush the edges of the empanada shell with egg wash. Scoop a small 1/4 cup amount of filling into the center of each shell. Seal the edges together with the tines of the fork and brush the outside with egg yolk or egg wash. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

happy baking and eating!

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