August 14, 2006
Moderate Sized Empanadas With Jumbo Sized Flavour
Well it’s about time I got around to making my namesake. It’s more than just a flashy title you know, it’s real now. I’ve actually made empanadas. And as much as I love things bigger, I ended up making moderate sized as opposed to jumbo empanadas. This may seem like a let down at first, but understand that I was serving them for dinner, (and not to Len but to my parents, Grandma and younger cousins) along with an orzo-feta-tomato salad and not everyone has as big an appetite as I do.
As usual I began my recipe search online and found a recipe for empanada dough at epicurious.com. As for the filling, I was not satisfied with their suggestions so I kept the dough as is and altered the filling to my liking, (unlike the sour cream chocolate chip cookies, this turned out to be the good kind of altering, not the kind that makes cookies turn into muffins). Now before anyone goes bounding into the kitchen to make empanadas, (as you all really should) let me forewarn you that this is no small task, it’s a fairly time consuming process. Although as far as I’m concerned that’s part of the fun and it was well worth the effort. That being said, here we go:
The process began with dough making, something I always enjoy, and am beginning to improve on substantially. As soon as I stepped into the kitchen I was already predicting a success and I doubled the recipe right off the bat. Considering my track record with things not turning out as planned this was a bold move. On another day, the word bold could quite easily be replaced with foolish, but not today, I was feeling good about things. As with any pastry type dough I make, I used frozen butter, grated it into my flour and used my hands to bring it together with the other ingredients. I wrapped that up and put it in the fridge to chill and went about making a filling. One of the recipes I saw used potato, chorizo and peppers and that looking like a good start to me however it lacked spices, and I like spices. I decided my empanadas would be stuffed with chorizo, beef, peppers, potato, onions, garlic, curry sauce and cumin. I cooked all of this together, overestimating slightly what I would need, but that’s ok because this mixture was so good on its own that I put away the extra without any trouble.
While waiting for my dough to rest in the fridge and the stuffing to cool down I made the orzo salad. I’d never had orzo before, but found some in the cupboard so I decided to see what I could come up with. I went out to the garden and got a few cups of cherry tomatoes, basil and parsley, found a tub of feta in the fridge and some pinenuts in the cupboard (which I roasted) and started building a colourful salad. While in the garden I also gathered some bigger tomatoes and cilantro to make a salsa sauce for the empanadas. Once salad and salsas were made it was time to divide the dough, roll it out and start stuffing empanadas. I ended up making 22 empanadas which even had pretty crimped edges, like I said, I was feeling good. The empanadas that were for dinner then received an eggwash and were popped into the oven to fill the house with wonderful smells. Twenty five minutes later and golden brown, my moderate sized empanadas were happily consumed by all in attendance. They even pleased my younger cousin’s picky palates, leading to them asking for seconds, an accomplishment all on its own. Granted my empanadas were not jumbo and Len wasn’t there to enjoy them, but at least now I can say that I’m capable of producing empanadas of considerable quality and I have now pulled off another success. Olé!