Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Latin Twist

Over the past few months, Mr. Willoughby and I have tried to expand our culinary horizons and experiment with some new dishes that we can make together.   On weeknights, I usually start dinner before he gets home, but on weekends, when time isn't an issue, we can leisurely prepare a meal together.  There isn't much criteria for choosing a recipe.  It's generally just a matter of finding something that sounds good and doesn't require a major shopping trip.   We also try to choose something the kids will be likely to enjoy.

One of our most popular dishes has been paella.  It's a great dish for two people to prepare because it involves quite a bit of prep work.  There are onions and peppers to chop, chicken and sausage to be sliced and shrimp to be cleaned.  It gives us a lot of time to talk, laugh and enjoy a glass of wine while we work.  The end result is pretty fantastic, too.  Paella is delicious.

We've had empanadas on the "must make" list for a while.  We weren't looking to make a truly authentic filling for ours because we had some leftover spicy pork I had made for tacos and burritos.  Thanksgiving leftovers would make some tasty empanadas, too.   For the dough, we used a simple, traditional recipe (below).  It went together in minutes and was extremely easy to work with.

Basic Empanada Dough

  • 3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, shortening or lard 

In a small bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the 3 cups of flour and salt.

Cut the butter (or shortening or lard) into the flour mix using a pastry blender or two knives. Make a well in the center and pour in the liquid ingredients.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until a stiff dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no more than 24 hours.

When you are ready to prepare your empanadas, divide dough into 10 pieces.  Form each piece into a ball and then, on a floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll ball out into a six inch circle.  Place several tablespoons of filling in the center of the circle.  Using a wet fingertip, moisten the edges of the circle.  Fold dough over filling and crimp edges with the tines of a fork.  Set aside on baking sheet that has been dusted flour (if you will be frying them) or lined with parchment paper (if you will be baking them).

We fried our empanadas in the deep fryer at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  If you would prefer, you can bake them in a 400° degree oven for 25 minutes.

Enjoy your empanadas!

*A quick note about fillings - because of the short cooking time involved, you should choose a filling that is already cooked.  Meats, especially, would not have enough time to cook through.

Do you and your spouse like to work in the kitchen together?  If you do, what are your favorite recipes to make?



Betty said...

Those look delicious!!!
Just found your blog and i'm glad i did.That's why i'm following.
Hope you're having a great and safe weekend!!

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

Both Paella and the empanadsa sounds delicious. I think I'm hungry. I have meatloaf in the oven, but it just isn't doing it for me... :)

I think that's great that you and your husband cook together. My husband always helps with Christmas dinner and likes to chop veggies and such, but that's about it! He does make a mean salsa though... :)

Donna-FFW said...

Your empanadas look terrific, I was planning on making some next week, I use a beef/cheese filling.

Hubby and I love to do chili together.. to be posted soon.

Raoulysgirl said...

I love empanadas!!!

I also love having Raouly help me in the kitchen. Anytime we're having anything Mexican, he makes the rice. He's handy with other dishes, as well...but he makes AWESOME rice!!!

Purple Flowers said...

Hubby and I can cook almost anything together. We both like to be in the kitchen. Tonight, we made an orange angel food cake (orange was freshly zested). It's fun to cook & bake with him. We cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner together; it worked out great!

5thsister said...

I've never done paella or empanadas before. Thanks for the ideas and for the empanada recipe! Yummy!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

maybe i could try the empanadas...just had a huge failure with enchiladas last night....

john and i do enjoy cooking together...but that mess i made of the mexican night i managed all by myself...

on to pizza tonight..dough is rising on the least i know i can get that one right....

more later,

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

This sounds wonderful--I love that you and Mr. Willoughby are cooking together--delicious on multiple levels...

kys said...

My husband doesn't set foot in the kitchen until the food is on the table. And he leaves as soon as he has eaten.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Those empanadas look soooo good!

Hubby does not cook unless it's on the bbq, but he does keep me company while I cook and always helps cleaning up.

Hope you have a great week!

5thsister said...

A new award is awaiting you, my friend, over at my place. Come on by!

abby jenkins said...

My husband whips me up a very special birthday dinner and helps with New Years. He does help in other ways, getting the fire going, wine open, sweeping (man, he loves to sweep) and is great at doling out the compliments!

Maybe we should try these, I love empanadas Amiga! Tyler Florence has a great recipe.

elvira pajarola said...

mhmhmhmhmmmmmm....I go for them.....I'll try them surely; as soon as I can!!!!!!

...Paella is my favourite DISH; wow, and it is so nice to prepare you want to know where we cook it?......In a huge pan over the open fire in the baking-house outside.....yes; in tuscany the farmers used to have a bred-oven; actually a roof-covered half open rustic little "kitchen"; so we still have one like this; redone in the last years, but we left it in the antique style..!
So that's where my husband and I cook our "meals" together; only weekends of course or when we have guests or special events!
ciao ciao elvira

Chicago Mom said...

My husband is not allowed in the kitchen while I am cooking and vice versa. We do yardwork together very well though. :)

Cameron said...

What a great post :)

Deidra said...

Oh my, these look delicious! My husband and I each enjoy cooking. We may have to try this one!

Kimberly said...

They look so good!

I will have to try these.

Holly said...

I have never tried these but always wanted to..maybe now is the time! They look delicious!


Lissaloo said...

Yummy! I have something for you on my blog :)

Kathy said...

Yum, these look good! I love mexican, as do the rest of the family, so we will be trying these.

Amy said...

This recipe sounds delicious. I love yours and Mr. Willoughby's idea for expanding your culinary horizons and your palate. It sounds like the perfect antidote to food boredom, something that happens to my husband and I after weeks of the same dinners in winter. I love paella and will think about trying that but these empanadas sound great & versatile!
Thank you for the recipe & a wonderful idea!


those look delicious and that's where our food varies

mine -at times- tastes good but rarely if ever LOOKS good

Life Laugh Latte said...

I've never made them, but I'd love to try. Thanks for the lesson. Hope you had a delightful thanksgiving. Holly

Jennie said...

I love that you can make empanadas out of leftovers! I have a wonderful chicken and chorizo empanada recipe that I love, only I have never actually made the dough! I usually use puff pastry! Oh the shame!
I am definitely bookmarking this! Thanks!

Jenn Erickson said...

That's so wonderful that you and your husband enjoy a shared passion for food and cooking. Empanadas are wonderful, and paella is one of my absolute favorite dishes ever!