Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Side of Football

I am LOVING the weather in NYC the past few days. Crisp 56˚mornings, followed by 72˚ afternoons, all under bright blue can't beat it with a stick! The perfect temperatures coupled with the amazing late summer light, instantly transport me back to the football Saturdays of my college days.

What can I say? I'm an enigma. I watch Big Ten football, The Rachel Zoe Project, True Blood, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I listen to Soundgarden, Pet Shop Boys, Tool, and Radiohead. I drink frozen hot chocolate. (Not really...but it works, right?) With all that to say...the crisp fall afternoons make me think of football, which makes me think of snacks. I get that most people are more likely to order in pizza and hot wings, but in the off chance you are trying to impress your friends (or need an idea for your next Cinco de Mayo party), try these empanadas. Granted, they may take a little bit of time to prepare, but you can always make them ahead of time and freeze them. And they are delicious. Especially with a Wrinkly Slut, with or without a side of football.

Potato, Pepper, and Chorizo Empanadas
(Adapted from Gourmet)

3/4 cup finely chopped Spanish chorizo (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 pound yellow-fleshed potato such as Yukon Gold (1 large)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Empanada dough*
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Make the filling:
1. Cook the chorizo in the oil in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, 2 minutes, then transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add the onions to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, bay leaf, salt, and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until the pepper is very soft, about 15 minutes.

3. Peel the potato and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, then stir into the onion mixture and cook over moderately low heat, covered, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are just barely tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Add the potato mixture to the chorizo and stir to combine. Cool the filling to room temperature, discard the bay leaf, and then stir in the cheese.

Form and bake the empanadas:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Divide the dough (see recipe below) into 12 equal pieces and form each into a disk. Keeping the remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).

2. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center and fold the dough in half, enclosing filling. Press the edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Transfer the empanada to a baking sheet. Make 11 more empanadas in same manner, arranging on 2 baking sheets.

3. Lightly brush the empanadas with some of egg wash and bake, switching the position of the sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Empanada Dough*

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1. Sift the flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

2. Beat together the egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to the flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)

3. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring the dough together. Form the dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.


WendyB said...

I for one am ready for another round of Wrinkly Sluts. After which, I will beat something with a stick. You made that sound so appealing.

Jennifer said...

I am too. Without the football.