Saturday, March 3, 2012
Roasted Chili and Pork Empanadas
I was in a bind. I run into this problem every time the word potluck is tossed about. A friend was having a gathering and asked we bring a dish to pass. My reputation in the kitchen is beginning to precede me. I wanted to offer something stellar. But I was also feeling lazy and didn't want to make a special trip to the store or put much effort into concocting an awe-inspiring dish. Something saliva inducing was still required. Or at least palatable. Desserts are easy...potlucks seem overwrought with cookies, bars and cupcakes. So I wanted to bring something savory. But easy to eat. Serious board game playing was likely to occur and few things clutter up playing space like dinner plates.
So the solution? Empanadas. Have you noticed how many cultures have savory meat pies in their repertoire? Italian calzones, Cornish pasties, Indian samosas, Spanish empanadas...heck, even hot pockets...
I picked empanadas for the broad appeal of the ingredients. Honestly, really the biggest difference between all of these hand pies is the seasoning and sauce. I guess I was in more of a tex-mex mood. I've made pasties and samosas before. Plus I already had everything on hand. I used leftover roasted pork loin; but ground beef, shredded chicken, or rice and beans could just as easily work. Given my impatience with pie pastry, that I did purchase instead of making my own from scratch. I'm getting better, but Pillsbury still makes a better pie crust than I do...
the recipe is my own
yields 20-24 empanadas
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1- 4 oz can fire-roasted chilies
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups cooked pork loin, finely chopped
6 oz Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe for a double pie crust
1 egg, beaten
In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions and garlic until the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chilies, cumin, chili powder. Stir until well combined and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the meat. Simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Mix in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Roll out the pie crust and cut out 3-inch rounds using a cookie cutter (I ended up using the screw top band from one of my canning jars...) Re-roll the dough as necessary to make 20-24 rounds.
In the center of each dough round, mound a scant Tbsp of filling. Dip your finger in water and dampen the edges of the dough round.
Using a pastry brush, brush a little beaten egg onto each empanada. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the empanadas puff slightly the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.
Considering I used leftovers and pre-made pie crust, these empanadas were a breeze to make. They looked absolutely stunning...beautiful puffed and rounded crusts, carefully crimped edges, glistening egg glaze, steaming and flavorful filling...I would make these again in a heart beat. And it appears our friends would gladly partake of them again given the chance. Filling possibilities are endless. And the size is perfect for snacking and sharing. For an entree-sized meat pie, a larger round with more filling would be easy enough to do...and I suspect they would freeze well for future quick meals.