Friday, August 27, 2010

Empanada Party!

Well, not really a party since there were only three diners, and the empanadas themselves didn't have all that much fun, what with all of the teeth involved. But hey, we humans had a good time.


In the past, I've made empanadas with supermarket brand all-ready pie crusts. They work fine, but the dough is fragile and soft and doesn't make for particularly pretty turnovers. This time, I used actual empanada dough. Mr Minx had purchased a bag of Goya Mini Discos some time ago and it languished in the freezer until I found them after a bit of re-organizing. The little discs of nicely resilient dough just needed to be defrosted, rolled out a bit, and filled. While the recipe on the bag called for frying, I popped mine in the oven for 15 minutes at 350º.

I had some leftover seasoned ground lamb that I had used for preseason-football-watchin' nachos earlier in the week, and I also made a chicken filling and a really simple veggie one. (When I say "simple," I mean it: 1 cup diced, cooked parsnip; 1/2 cup cooked, squeezed-dry, spinach, salt to taste.) Each empanada also got a pinch of grated Kraft Mexican four cheese blend.

They'd never give Max's Empanadas a run for their money, but they were pretty good and made for some convenient lunches over the next week.

Chicken Filling
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sautéed or poached until cooked through, cubed or shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
5 dried apricots, diced
1 tablespoon dried cranberries, chopped
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
1 tablespoon ketchup
8 pimento-stuffed olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped nuts (I used cashews)
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil. When hot, add the onion and cook until wilted and beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for a few seconds, then add all of the remaining ingredients except cilantro and nuts. Cook about 15 minutes until dried fruits have softened and sauce is somewhat thick.

Stir in chicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Before filling empanada shells, taste chicken for seasoning and add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir in cashews, chopped cilantro, and egg.

Makes a lot of tiny empanadas.


Empanada Sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
dash salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Allow to sit at least 2 hours so the flavors can meld. Serve as a dip with empanadas.