Wednesday, February 4, 2009


A few weeks ago, we went out to eat at a local Latin restaurant called Destino. The highlight of the meal was definitely the empanada sampler- one each of pork, chicken and vegetarian empanadas. I guess that's what got the idea in our heads to try making our own.

We used a recipe from Epicurious for the dough. It made enough dough for about 10 empanadas.

Empanada Dough:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, cut into small chunks (*note: We used smart balance instead)
1 egg
1/3 cup cold water
1 Tbsp white vinegar

Mix the flour and salt into a large bowl, then blend in the butter by hand until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

We made two different types of filling for our empanadas. We sauteed up both the fillings the night before to save time, since the dough takes a while.

Radicchio Filling:
2 head radicchio, leafy parts only, roughly chopped
2 small pink lady apples, sliced thinly
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (We used Canadian 5 year Aged, AWESOME!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions until translucent over medium heat, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and apples, then saute until soft, another 5-7 minutes. Next, add the radicchio and turn the heat down to low. Wilt the radicchio (it's fast, only takes a few minutes!) and stir in the spices. Season to taste and refrigerate.

Collard Green Filling:
1 bunch collard greens, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 can cannellini beans
6 cloves garlic confit (*note: see bottom of post for garlic confit recipe)
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions until translucent. Add collard greens, and wilt thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Put in the refrigerator and allow to cool.

Rinse and drain beans, then add to a bowl with the garlic. Add in the lemon juice and mash it up! A potato masher would be great, but a fork works just fine.

When your dough is ready, put two oven racks in upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces then roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin. They should be approximately 5 inches around and 1/8 inch thick.

For the collard greens filling, we spooned on a bit of the greens then topped it with the bean & garlic mixture, as shown above. For the radicchio filling, spoon on the raddicio mixture then top with some shaved cheddar cheese.

Fold each round in half, enclosing the filling and press the edges together to seal. Use the tines of a fork to make a decorative seal. Transfer empanadas to two baking sheets, which have been lined with foil and sprayed with your Misto. Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes. Allow empanadas to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

We served the empanadas with a pickled watermelon radish salad. It provided a great counterbalance of acid for the dish. Kenny's co-worker Ashley, who gets a CSA delivery from a different farm, had given him a gorgeous watermelon radish earlier that day,. I guess her husband hates radishes. Lucky for us!

Pickled Watermelon Daikon and Fennel Salad:

1 large watermelon daikon radish, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, shaved or thinly sliced
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in container that can be sealed, shaken and set aside. Note: the longer it sits, the more the pigment will bleed from the daikon. The flavor will get spicier over time, so if you want a spicy pink salad, make it a day ahead of time. If not, make it while you have some downtime, like when the dough is setting. It's really super fast.

A note: Regarding garlic confit!
Garlic Confit:
20 cloves of garlic, whole
2 cups olive oil

To make garlic confit, add both the garlic and olive oil in a sauce pot, then turn heat on low. Let simmer until garlic is tender. The color when it's done will be similar to a peanut. Strain out garlic for use in any recipe that calls for roasted garlic.

SAVE THE OIL! I love this stuff! Not only is it easier and WAY less messy than roasted garlic- you don't burn your hands squeezing it out! The leftover oil tastes like liquid roasted garlic joy and is amazing in pasta, dressings, pizza, marinades, garlic bread, or just to dip stuff in. Since we have made this batch I (this is Kenny, don't think Katie is a weirdo) have opened the bottle just to smell it at least 5 times. It totally makes my day. (Katie says: What a weirdo!)

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