Southwest inspired homemade empanadas

by Stevie on August 2, 2010

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My original idea for this recipe wasn’t Southwest at all. I was reading this cool food blog, bitchin’Camero, and got super excited by Mel’s recipe for smoked salmon, goat cheese and spinach empanadas.

Southwest inspired homemade empanadas

My folks had just gone on an Alaskan cruise and brought us some smoked salmon as a gift. Perfect! I made the dish more-or-less the way described, but I tried to be ambitious and make my own dough. I should have read between the lines when Mel gave hints on buying pre-made empanada shells at a local grocer or even on-line. Will I ever learn? The filling for the salmon etc. empanada (I made one large pie instead of hand-held ones) tasted great. The crust, not so good: sort of brick-like.

this smoked salmon, goat cheese and spinach empanada looks great but the dough didn't work

Not to be deterred by such a minor setback, I tried again: this time with a different crust recipe and a new filling. I’d already used up the salmon so improvised here with a Mediterranean-meets-Southwest style stuffing. The empanada dough recipe comes from about.com. The dough was easy to make and turned out very well. I ended up sprinkling some sea salt on the finished empanadas before popping them into the oven, which might have been overkill. Otherwise, this was fantastic.

some key ingredients for Southwest inspired homemade empanadas

Southwest inspired homemade empanadas

For the filling:

½ cup olives, pitted (I used kalamata and stuffed Spanish)
3 fillets anchovy
4 sundried tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
12 small dried mild chiles (I used chile puya)
2 small onions, peeled and cut in halves
¼ cup pepitas, briefly dry pan roasted
8 spring onions, chopped
Goat cheese to taste
Salt to taste

For dough:

Follow the link above or take Mel’s excellent advice and try frozen shells. Making the dough yourself brings a real sense of satisfaction if it comes out right. Plus the empanadas can take on irregular and exciting shapes, which make them seem more unique and fun.

To prepare the filling:

Using a cast iron pan on high heat, roast the garlic and onion until blackened a bit. At the same time, roast the chile peppers for about 20 to 30 seconds on each side. Immediately toss them into a small pot of boiling water. Boil, covered, for five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for another fifteen minutes. (This is the same preparation that I used for smoky ancho salsa but with a different chili pepper.) Remove chiles from water. Carefully remove and discard stems, seeds and inner ribs. Place peppers in food processor.

Add olives, roasted garlic and onion, sundried tomatoes and anchovies to chiles. Pulse until a thick paste is formed. Transfer to a bowl.

Mix pepitas and spring onions with blended chile filling.

Southwest inspired homemade empanada close up

To stuff empanadas:

Place a large spoon of filling in the center of each piece of dough. Top with a chunk of goat cheese. Close dough per recipe directions and bake. Allow to cool on wire racks and serve. These would be great for a picnic to wine country!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Márcia August 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Ei Heg
parece delicioso !!!! hummmmmmmmm

Heguiberto August 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

Ficou bótimo! Obrigado pela visita. Volte mais
-H

tasteofbeirut August 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm

yummy! I had resorted to buying empanadas already made at a really good Argentinian deli in Dallas but these make me rethink my vow to never try making them (too hard); they look so good and doable!

Sharon August 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm

So, these looked so good, I had to try them, even though I’ve never made empanadas before. I wimped out and used frozen empanada shells, but they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe–just in time for a treat for a friend’s going-away party.

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