Chorizo, Potato and Quelites Empanadas

March 25, 2010

Chorizo, Potato and Quelites Empanadas

Nicole Baugh, Tucson CSA

This recipe for empanadas is fairly time consuming, but the leftovers freeze and reheat very well (use a toaster oven for best results), and the recipe may easily be doubled. Makes 12 empanadas (4-6 servings).  The empanadas are good plain, but are also good with salsa or sour cream.

Dough (recipe adapted from Gourmet, 2004) (You could substitute store-bought pie crust, but this recipe makes empanadas that are flaky and sturdy enough to eat like hand pies.)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (a combination of all-purpose and wheat works well)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon vinegar

Combine dry ingredients, stirring well or sifting to mix. Using a pastry blender or fingers (cut the butter into cubes first if you’re using your hands), work butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal (a few larger lumps of butter are okay). Beat egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl, then add to flour/butter mixture and stir just until incorporated (dough will be shaggy). Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to bring dough together (overworking makes for a tough crust). Pat dough into a rectangle, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour. May be made a day or two ahead.

Filling (all sorts of fillings work well with the dough, but this one can be made with all-CSA ingredients, except for the beer!)
3/4 lb of pork chorizo (if using links, remove from casing first)
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small to medium unpeeled potatoes, sliced into quarter-rounds about 1/8″ thick
1/2 bunch quelites, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2 – 1 cup beer, stock or water

Brown the chorizo, breaking up with a spatula to crumble. Once chorizo is cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Adjust the amount of chorizo grease in the pan (adding butter or pouring off grease if necessary) to  ~2 Tbs of fat. Add onions and garlic and stir frequently over medium heat 5 or 6 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add potatoes and cook another minute or two, stirring to keep the potatoes from sticking. Add about half a cup of liquid to the pan (potatoes will not be completely covered) and stir to scrape up browned bits. Cover the pan and simmer, adding additional liquid as necessary to keep things from sticking. Stir occasionally and simmer until potatoes are just tender but are still keeping their shape (about 10-15 minutes). Uncover and add cooked chorizo and quelites. Stir until quelites begin to wilt, then remove pan from heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove dough from the fridge and cut into 12 equal pieces. Pat a piece into a ball, then roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 5″ circle. Repeat with the rest of the dough, stacking the dough circles with a little flour between each. Line a cookie sheet (or two, depending on size) with parchment or foil (don’t use wax paper), then fill and form empanadas: for each dough circle, use about 1/4 cup of filling (made with the above amounts, you should have just enough filling for 12). Fold the dough over the filling and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork (an egg wash for the edges is helpful but not necessary – you may also brush the tops with egg wash if you desire). Bake the empanadas about 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned on top. Serve hot or cold. If desired, you may freeze empanadas either after or before baking (freeze on a cookie sheet, then bake from frozen for a few additional minutes).

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