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the in-between

Recipe: carne adovada empanadas

The last week of December – that time between Christmas and the new year – always tends to be one of the busiest at the ski resorts. Lots of people take time off for the holidays and head to the slopes with their families and extended families and friends. After the last good powder day on Christmas, we’ve switched from skiing the mountain to hitting the Nordic trails. The big storm tracks have cleared out and the trails are firming up under bluebird skies for some great skate ski conditions. It’s such a great workout that single digit (Fahrenheit) temperatures actually feel pretty good, unless you stop moving… then it gets quite cold quite fast.

jeremy wears two passes: his and neva’s

I’m also using this opportunity to work on some baby quilts. Actually, LOTS of baby quilts – some of which are for babies that aren’t babies anymore, but bona fide kids! I may be years late, but the sentiment is there. Plus, I carried two of my baby blankets around with me until… well, I have them in my bedroom now. These are flannel rag quilts because I don’t have the skill or time to make anything more complicated. Squares are good enough for me.

soft and colorful fabrics

The neat thing about this period before the new year is that parties seem to have an “anything goes” theme. Festive, yet not necessarily Christmas. I rather like that. It’s all about celebrating the end of 2015, looking ahead to 2016, and eating empanadas. Last month I made a big batch of carne adovada and decided to save some out to make empanadas. These are not traditional in any sense, just a New Mexican take on the revered empanada which turned out to be pretty darn delicious.

water, carne adovada, cheddar, paprika, green chiles, salt, vegetable oil, flour, butter, onion

I used the dough recipe from my favorite Argentine empanadas recipe. It’s straightforward to make and has a nice texture when baked. You can, of course, fry the empanadas (they are so so tasty fried), but my pants can only handle the baked version. Plus, it’s less clean up.

melt the butter and water

pace a pinch of paprika in a well with the flour and salt

mix the liquid into the flour

you’ll wind up with a nice oily dough

wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate

You don’t have to add roasted green chiles to the carne adovada, but I threw them in because I was trying to clear out some freezer space. I asked Jeremy if folks normally ate carne adovada with green chiles and he said, “Not that I know of.” Oh, how bad could it be? I think with something like empanadas, the filling can be quite flexible.

the filling ingredients

sauté the onions

mix it all in a bowl

ready to fold some empanadas

If you want to make small empanadas, divvy the dough into 24 equal pieces. If you want hand-sized empanadas which are about 5-6 inches long, then divvy the dough into 16 pieces. Roll the dough pieces into balls and then roll them out with a rolling pin. I made 16 of them, so the dough disc had a 6-inch diameter when I was ready to start folding. If you go for 24 empanadas, they will be more like 4-5 inches in diameter when rolled out. Place enough filling on half of the circle leaving a half-inch margin along the edge. Fold the dough over and press the edges of the semi-circle together to seal the empanada. I like to push out as much air as possible so they don’t balloon too much during baking.

roll out the dough

place filling on half of the dough

You can crimp the edges with the tines of a fork, but I prefer to rope pinch the edges because it’s prettier. To rope pinch, just start at one corner of the semi-circle and fold the tip up and back over on itself toward the center of the semi-circle. Press it down so it seals with the dough. That will leave you with a new tip, which you will fold up and back over on itself, repeating until you get to the end. Finish folding the rest and you’re ready to bake.

start at one end

rope pinched

arrange the empanadas on a baking sheet

bake to a golden brown

serve hot or warm

We found that the green chiles added a nice heat and texture to the carne adovada. In New Mexico, if you want red and green chile on your food, you just say “Christmas”. So it’s not unheard of to marry red and green chiles (the red is in the carne adovada). These would be great with some fresh guacamole on the side and they reheat in the oven nicely if you wanted to make them ahead for parties or just to have on hand for hungry mouths.

it’s a little party wrapped and baked in dough

stuffed full of all the good things

Carne Adovada Empanadas
[print recipe]

empanada dough
1 cup water
3/4 cup lard or butter
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps salt
pinch paprika

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups (12 oz.) carne adovada, packed
1 cup roasted green chiles, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Make the dough: Heat the water and lard (or butter) together in a small saucepan over medium high heat until the butter is melted. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Make a well in the center of the flour and sprinkle the paprika in the well. Add a little of the hot water mixture to the well and mix it into the flour with your fingers. Add more water mixture and continue to mix together until you have a cohesive, oily dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the filling: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium or large sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and stir around. Sprinkle salt over the onions and continue to sauté until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, mix the onions, carne adovada, green chiles, and cheddar together.

Assemble the empanadas: Preheat oven to 400°F. Divvy the dough up into 16 equal size pieces and roll them into balls (about golf ball size). On a lightly floured surface, roll a dough ball out to about a 6-inch diameter circle (slightly smaller if you divvied your dough into 24 pieces). Place 3-4 tablespoons of filling in the center of half of the dough. Fold the dough over to form a semi-circle, and press the edges together to seal in the filling (but try to push any air pockets out, if possible). Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork or by rope pinching. To rope pinch, start with one corner of the edge and fold the little triangular tip in toward the center, pressing the end back onto the dough so they stick together. Take the next corner that was started by the last fold, and repeat all around the edge until you get to the end and fold that corner back toward the center. Place the empanadas on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden in color. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Serve hot or warm. Makes 16 medium or 24 small empanadas.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

argentine empanadas spinach cheese empanadas carne adovada carne adovada quesadillas

5 nibbles at “the in-between”

  1. Carol says:

    These look delicious. Can they be frozen before baking?

  2. Gwen O says:

    This post reminds me of how I found your blog…while looking for flannel rag quilt info many years ago. Please post photo/s of your finished quilts! I plan to try these empanadas very soon. And I always love seeing Neva!

  3. Jill Hyde says:

    As always, these look delicious…and so perfectly wrapped up in a delightful bundle!
    I can’t imagine your pants being tight with all the exercise you get!
    Happy New Year to you and the good doctor and your little bundle of cuteness.
    xo, jill

  4. jenyu says:

    Carol – I’m not sure how well empanadas freeze before baking, but I’ve seen recipes that indicate you can do so. Freeze them on a baking sheet making sure they aren’t touching, then pack them up in a well-sealed ziploc. You can bake them straight out of the freezer until the dough is golden (the filling is already cooked, so just make sure it’s hot).

    Gwen O – I’ll try to remember to post the finished quilts if/when I get around to finishing them :)

    Jill – thank you! xo

  5. Yvonne says:

    Yum! Thanks! Empanadas freeze really well before baking. I frequently make a batch and then wrap them individually and freeze. That way, if I don’t feel like cooking (or I’m not home and my husband has to fend for himself), we can easily pull out a couple and bake on demand.

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