For parties, I especially love little self contained finger foods - turnovers, handpies, empanadas, things in little cups...They're portable and easy to eat, and you don't have to worry about double dipping! These little empanadas were created mostly by virtue of what was sitting in my fridge and a vague memory of a chorizo sandwich I once saw. They turned out delicious! Flaky, a little spicy, and bursting at the seams with flavor. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
These are really delicious, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs treats. I was initially wondering how the creme fraiche mixture would work inside of these, but it had a nice tangy taste that set off the richness of the chorizo. The dough baked up flaky and beautifully browned and will be my go-to empanada dough recipe from now on. I went heavy on the arugula—I interpreted a couple handfuls to mean about three cups, packed. Next time I make these, I might try sauteing the chorizo separately, draining, and then adding it to the filling mixture so that the chorizo can brown a bit without releasing all of its oil into the rest of the filling. All in all, these have great flavors and look cute too! —VanessaS
2 1/4 cups
all purpose flour
cold butter, cut up into pieces
egg, for the glaze
1 1/2 tablespoons
water, for the glaze
yellow onion, diced
dried Spanish chorizo, finely diced
roasted red pepper, finely chopped
a couple of handfuls of arugula, chopped
large clove of garlic
olive oil (plus a little more if needed)
grated Pecorino Romano
In This Recipe
In a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients for the dough. Then quickly pulse in the butter until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add in the beaten egg and ice water, and vinegar pulse until everything comes together to form a dough. Then scoop the dough out (don't cut yourself on the food processor blade - it happens!) and form it into a ball. Knead it a few times on a lightly floured surface, flatten it into a disc, cover it with plastic wrap, and chill for an hour in the refrigerator.
Heat a couple of splashes of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until it becomes translucent. Then, turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are well caramelized, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the chopped chorizo, roasted pepper, and arugula and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, then remove from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a mortar and pestle (this can also be done in the food processor - if you've gotten around to cleaning it since making the dough), pound together the sage leaves, pine nuts, garlic clove, Pecorino, and salt. Little by little, smash in the olive oil, until you have reached a chunky pesto consistency. Stir about half of this into the creme fraiche. Taste, and if you'd like stronger sage flavor, stir in a bit more. (The rest you can reserve for drizzling on top of some other treat.)
When you're ready to make the empanadas, preheat your oven to 400F. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (I generally do this by dividing it in half six times) and roll each piece into a ball. Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into about a 6 inch circle (maybe a bit smaller).
Spread each circle with a layer of the sage-creme fraiche mixture, leaving a space around the edge of about 1/2 inch. Then, scoop a couple Tablespoons of the chorizo mixture into the middle of each. (If you have any extra filling, I recommend snacking on it while you finish baking - for fortification.)
Fold the dough in half to make little half-moons, using a little water to moisten the edges and help them to seal. Then, press the edges with the tines of a fork. Place the empanadas on two parchment lined baking sheets. Whisk together the egg and water for the glaze, and lightly brush each of the empanadas with the mixture.
Bake each sheet of empanadas for 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Allow to cool and put out to serve. (You can also serve them warm, of course.)
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.