January 16, 2009

Mmmmpanadas (kind of)

I've been trying all sorts of new things lately. Surely you'll be caught up soon, but the Reader's Digest version goes like this: homemade stock, homemade granola bars, homemade pasta, orange beef stir-fry...

So I'm definitely taking more risks in the kitchen, which sometimes ends in an "OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO GOOD" and sometimes with "Eh, um, yeah--this is good." And sometimes it involves watching your boyfriend get up from the table and make himself a deli plate. :)

A few weeks ago, very shortly after receiving How to Cook Everything for Christmas, I decided to try and make empanadas. There was soyrizo in the fridge that needed using, as well as a pint of fresh blueberries, so I thought I'd make savory and sweet versions. Let the fun begin.The dough was easy enough to make, though I think it was a little on the dry side. I'm still learning how to get dough perfect. But as for filling, the soyrizo was delish with cheese, and the blueberries got stewed together with sugar and cinnamon and... mmmm. These little pies were baked, not fried, so they weren't quite as mouth-watering and delicate as the authentic ones I've had the pleasure of devouring.

Empanadas, from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more
1/2 cup masa harina, fine cornmeal or more all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

1. Mix the flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt together in the food processor and process for about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the 1/2 cup shortening and process for 10 seconds. Then, with the machine running, add about 1/2 cup cold water, just enough for the dough to form a ball. Don't add more water than necessary; the dough should be fairly dry. Knead by hand until smooth, just a minute or so.

2. Divide into 12 pieces, roll into balls, and wrap in plastic or cover with a damp towel and let rest for at elast 20 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough overnight; be sure to let it come to room temperature before proceeding.) On a well-floured surface, rolle ach piece into a 6-inch circle, adding flour as necessary.

3. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a couple of tablespoons of the filling in the center of each circle of dough, followed by a sprinkling of cheese if desired, then fold each circle over. I seal the seam with a few drops of water and press with the tines of a fork to close. Put on an ungreased baking sheet and brush lightly with milk. Bake until the dough is golden brown and hot, and about 20 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature.