Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Empanadas, Two Ways

apparently i have been on a south american/mexican kick recently. it becomes apparent as i think back on the things i have been making:
vegetable chili
veggie enchiladas (recipe coming soon)
mexican chicken soup (recipe also coming soon)
and tonight . . . empanadas

a craving for empanadas has been creeping up on me the past couple of weeks. it was full-on knocking on my door at the end of last week when i bought all the ingredients. since they are slightly time consuming, i haven't gotten around to making them until today. empanadas aren't something you want to come home to making after a long day of cooking. 
i did make it easier on myself by using store bought pie dough. of course you can make your own empanada dough which i have done before (a traditional recipe and a gluten-free recipe) but sometimes it's just easier to roll out some pre-made pie crusts.

i knew i wanted to make two different fillings - one with chicken and one with ground bison. after some internet searching, i settled on to very different recipes. one is based on a paula deen recipe. i wasn't too sure about this one because she isn't exactly known for her ethnic cuisine. deep fried butter, yes, south american specialties, not so sure. after reading the comments on the recipe i felt better. mostly everyone raved so, ya'll, i had to try it.
this led me to look for a more traditional version for my bison empanadas. i found a beef recipe that i tweaked and used bison. 

these were very different yet both very good. the chicken empandas were creamy from the cream cheese and smooth tasting. they had a little bite from the jalapeno. it was hard to choose a favorite but i think the bison won put by a hair. the bison empanada tasted a bit more like a traditional empanda should taste. i felt like i was instantly back in mendoza - i was just missing a nice malbec. the bison mixture was a little spicier from the serrano chiles and the cinnamon really brought out all the other flavors. i love them both and will be adding these to my regular repertoire.



me thinks you should try both and let me know what you think!

Creamy Chicken Empanadas (adapted from paula deen's chicken empanadas)
(makes about 25 three-inch empanadas)
1 1/2 cup chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 cup low fat shredded mexican cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts 1/2 tbs cumin
1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper
2 refrigerated pie crusts
water
1 egg

preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

in a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the pie crust. unroll 1 piecrust on a piece of parchment paper. roll out the crust until it is very thin. cut out 3" rounds, re-rolling as needed until all the dough has been used. 

lightly brush the edges of crust with water. scoop 1 teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round then fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. repeat with all rounds. the empanadas are now ready to bake or freeze.

brush each empanada with egg wash and bake on parchment lined baking sheet at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Bison Empanadas (adapted from a food network recipe)
(makes about 15 three-inch empanadas)
1/2 lb ground bison
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 roma tomatoes
2 small serrano chilies, seeded
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup shredded mexican cheese
1 refrigerated pie crust
water 
1 egg

puree tomatoes, chilies, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth.
meanwhile, saute ground bison on skillet over medium until browned, about 4 minutes. add onion and cook 2 minutes, them add garlic and almonds and saute 1 more minute. add tomato puree, cumin and cinnamon and cook about 5 minutes until liquid has evaporated. remove from heat and let cool.
unroll 1 piecrust on a piece of parchment paper. roll out the crust until it is very thin. cut out 3" rounds, re-rolling as needed until all the dough has been used. 
lightly brush the edges of crust with water. scoop 1 teaspoon of bison mixture in the center of the round
then fold the dough over the filling,
pressing the edges with a fork to seal. repeat with all rounds. the empanadas are now ready to bake or freeze.

brush each empanada with egg wash and bake on parchment lined baking sheet at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

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