Saturday, January 10, 2015

E is for: Easy Empanadas {with Spinach, Mushrooms & Goat Cheese}

Sometimes I take a photo and I'm so pleased with it I think I could be a professional food photographer. (Pats self on back).

Other times, I take a photo and no matter what I do, it just doesn't do the food justice and I consider scrapping the post altogether. (Face palm).

Turns out, empanadas aren't the most photogenic of foods. Especially when it's winter. And I"m losing light. And I'm hungry. And all I want to do is devour said empanada.

So I present to you... spinach, goat cheese and mushroom empanadas. They are delicious. And easy.

You just might have to take my word for it.

You can pretty much do whatever you want for the filling. I happened to have some baby bella mushrooms and spinach leftover from a turkey barley soup I made earlier in the week, so I decided to use them as my base for these little treats. I wanted a cheesy component, and I'm currently obsessed with this Cypress Grove Humbolt Fog goat cheese, so I used that. For the pastry portion, I took a shortcut and used pre-made pie crusts. This is where the "easy" part of the title comes in. I love these ones from Immaculate Baking Company, I got them at Whole Foods.

I also wanted a fresh herb component so I used a little rosemary that I had in the fridge. Maybe a couple teaspoons? (I'm really bad at measuring). Toss them in with the spinach and mushrooms when they're almost done sauteeing, and then stir in the cheese.

Allow the pie crusts to come to room temperature and gently unroll them onto a clean work space. I have a round cookie cutter specifically for jobs like this, but you can also use and empty can. Ball up the scraps and re-roll the dough with a rolling pin to get the most you possibly can out of each pie crust. (I got about 10 from each 9" crust).

Once you have your rounds, you can start filling them. YAY! Spoon a little filling in the middle. Resist the urge to pack them too tightly with filling or they will be oozing out everywhere in the oven. One or two looks "rustic"... the whole pan just looks like a big fat mess. Dip your (clean) fingers in a little egg white and coat the very edges. This will help seal the empanadas.

Fold into a little half-moon and press the edges together, sealing completely.

If you want to get all fancy-schmancy with the crusts, you can make a rope edge. (I'm fancy, as you know). I contemplated trying to explain this in text, but really you should just watch this video and it will be easier.

You could also leave them unfinished, or just press the tip of a fork around the edges like I did with my "hot pockets" during the early days of the blog.

If you want your empanadas shiny and golden brown, brush with an egg wash of yolk (from the egg you used for the egg white) and about a teaspoon of water. Brush mixture all over the dough.

Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, poke with a couple slits to vent, and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. These would be great served alongside cranberry salsa. Picture perfect? Maybe not... but they are perfectly tasty. :)

*Freezer note: If you are making these ahead of time and don't plan on baking them right away, skip the egg wash and simply place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (make sure they're not touching) and flash freeze them for a couple hours. Once frozen, you can transfer to a freezer bag. You don't need to defrost. Just brush with egg wash and add a few minutes to the cooking time.

Easy Empanadas with Spinach, Mushrooms & Goat Cheese

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer snack vegetarian pie crust goat cheese mushroom spinach Cinco de Mayo Super Bowl Mexican

Ingredients (20 empanadas)
  • 2 pre-made 9" pie crusts (usually 2 to a box)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6-8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, minced rosemary
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces chevre goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  1. Take pie crusts out of fridge and allow to come to room temperature while you prep everything else. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in saute pan and add mushrooms. Cook until they release their moisture, and become tender. Add garlic and cook about 30-60 seconds longer. Add spinach and cook until it wilts (about a minute). Stir in rosemary and season with salt and pepper.Stir in goat cheese until it starts to melt. Turn off heat.
  3. Using a round cookie cutter or round object such as an empty can, cut dough into small rounds (about 4-5" thick). Ball up the scraps and roll out with a rolling pin to use as much of the dough as possible.
  4. Separate egg yolk and white into separate dishes. Place a small spoonful of filling into the middle of each round. Using the egg white to help seal the edges, fold in half and press the edges to seal. Using a rope technique, or simply a fork, finish off the edges.
  5. Whisk egg yolk with 1-2 teaspoons of water and brush the tops of the empanadas all over. Using a paring knife, cut small slits in the top to help vent in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm.
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