Friday, March 4, 2011

Food Friday: Spinach Empanadas

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I've probably had empanadas a dozen times in my life, but it wasn't until last summer that I realized just how good they really are. There was a Cuban restaurant a few blocks from my apartment/Brent's apartment that had some pretty tasty spinach empanadas, which just might have been the first vegetarian empanadas I'd ever had. It only crossed my mind a month ago that I could actually make them, when my parents asked me to make them a batch with ham and cheddar cheese. Since I had a little dough left, and I wasn't about to go hungry, I decided to make some vegetarian ones, and had to come up with a recipe very quickly. I looked in the fridge and see that I had some spinach and feta, and decided to throw in some dill and pine nuts too. I made them twice with a store bought pie dough, but today was my first attempt at making the dough myself. Again, I decided to mix a couple of influences and make them Greek-style. 

Spinach, feta & pine nut empanadas.

Ingredients: 

For the dough: 
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter, cold and cut up into a dozen pieces
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons water

For the filling:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 -1/4 cup pine nuts
- 40-50 medium to large spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon dill
- salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze: 
- 1 egg yolk in a small bowl

Instructions: 

I followed Laylita's recipe to make the dough, and used a small bowl to cut the disc shapes, so I ended up with smaller empanadas, but that's how I like them. 

Preheat oven to 420 F/220°C. 

While I let the dough chill in the fridge, I cut up a clove of garlic and heated up a the olive oil in a small frying pan. After a few seconds, I added the sliced clove of garlic and the pine nuts to the pan, and toasted them lightly on low-medium heat. When the pine nuts become a nice golden color, place the nuts and the garlic in a medium bowl. 

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Add the spinach to the pan and cook until just wilted. 

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Let the spinach cool for a few minutes. Add the feta cheese to the pine nuts and garlic. Dump the dill, salt and pepper into the bowl. 

While the spinach is cooling, take out the dough out of the fridge and, on a lightly (or not lightly, in my case) floured surface, roll it into a a thin sheet. 

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Make disc shapes with a small bowl, and place on a lightly floured surface or parchment paper. 

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When the spinach has cooled, dump the spinach into the bowl and mix well. 

Place a tablespoon of the spinach mix in the middle of the disc. 

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Fold back, sealing the dough with your fingers. If the dough is too dry, fill a measuring cup with 1/4 water, dip your fingers in the water and try sealing the empanada again. Press firmly. 

Grease a sheet of parchment paper, brush empanada with the egg yolk glaze immediately and place on parchment paper. 

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Place 8-10 empanadas on the parchment paper, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the glaze becomes a nice golden brown. 

1 comment:

Rhiannon said...

there's an empanada place by my dad's house that's the best i've ever had. seriously. i want to go eat some now sooooo badly.