In nearly every culture, there is a recipe for savory filling wrapped in dough. There's ravioli in Italy, dim sum in Hong Kong, pasties in Great Britain (and Michigan), and empanadas in Spain.
Traditionally deep fried, we have experimented with a baked empanada for years. This is our fine-tuned recipe. The crust is tender and tasty. It could be filled with any manner of filling including sausage, spinach, or crab. The mushroom walnut combination below is particularly tasty. The process is the same no matter what you choose to encase in an empanada:
Make the yeast dough and set it aside to rise. Meanwhile, make the filling and allow it to cool.
When dough is double in bulk, punch down and divide into eight parts for lunch-sized empanadas.
Roll the dough into a very thin, about 1/8 inch, circle.
Pile filling and grated cheese on the lower half of the dough. Pull the dough over top so edges meet.
Pinch and twist the dough all around the edges to seal.
Add an egg wash if desired. Bake on a cookie sheet until browned on top. Allow to cool slightly before eating.
Baked Empanada Recipe, in Alex's words
makes 8 servings
1 hour active cooking time, 2 hours rise.
The dough -
1 cup water
4 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced and sauteed lightly in olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP Yeast
2 TSP Sugar
1.5 TSP Salt
3 - 3.5 cups flour (an equal mix of all purpose, white whole wheat, and bread flours is ideal)
1. Melt butter in water. Heat the water and butter so that the final liquid mixture is nice and warm, about 110 degrees F.
2. Stir in oil, milk and yeast. The warmth makes the yeast amorous and puts it in a reproductive mood. Add sugar. Stir thoroughly, an let the yeast get its groove on for 5 minutes.
3. Add the sauteed garlic.
4. Next stir in the flour and salt. Add extra flour if the dough is still sticky.
5. Knead the dough for 10 minutes in a kitchen aid or by hand until smooth, elastic and as stretchy as Liberace's unitard.
6. Allow to rise in a warm place until double in bulk, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
The filling -
1 pound crimini mushrooms - diced small
1/2 large red onion
4 large cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 TSP Paprika
1/4 TSP Cayenne Pepper
1/3 cup red wine, split into two equal portions
1.Saute the garlic and onions lightly in butter, olive oil or bacon lard.
2. Add the walnuts and then the mushrooms. Add paprika, cayenne and salt/pepper to taste.
3. When the mushrooms start releasing juices, add half the wine. Let cook down, stirring occasionally.
4. After 15 minutes, add other half of wine. Cook for 2 more minutes and then let cool.
The pies -
2 cups shredded queso blanco
1. Punch down down and let rest for five minutes.
2. Divide dough into eight pieces, then roll flat and round.
3. Spoon approximately 1/2 cup cooled filling onto bottom half of each dough circle.
4. Sprinkle liberally with the cheese, then fold dough over to make a pocket around the filling.
5. Crimp or fold edges to seal. Brush with an egg wash if desired.
6. Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the pies are browned and done. Don't bite right into them unless you want oral third degree burns.
Note: Empanadas can be filled, wrapped, and frozen on a cookie sheet before baking. When ready to bake, thaw completely and bake as directed.
Added to Hearth And Soul blog hop Vol. 27