Short Rib and Goat Cheese Empanadas

2 Jun

I have to start by apologizing for my long and unexplained absence.  Finals rolled in, then wedding stuff and work and a day or two slid into a week or two before I looked at my homepage and realized it had  been weeks since I posted.  I’ve really no excuse, other than a little bit of business and a whole heck of a lot of laziness.  So, to those of you who check this blog from time to time hoping to see something new, I’m sorry.

Anyway, I thought I’d get my butt back into gear.  These short rib and goat cheese empanadas were absolutely bursting in flavor, thanks in no small part to the delicious Pinot Szechuan sauce from The Czar’s Fine Foods, which I won awhile back from Noble Pig and finally had the occasion to use.

Empanadas are admittedly quite a bit a work, but there are several ways you can cut it down so it isn’t completely overwhelming.  The first thing is to use leftovers, or mostly leftovers, for your filling.  I already had some short ribs hanging out in the fridge from having some friends over for dinner, so it was as simple as chopping up some mushrooms, tossing with sauce, and adding a dollop of goat cheese to each empanada.  The second tactic is to use pre-made empanada shells, if you are so inclined, or even puff pastry.  You can also make the dough the day before and keep it refrigerated until you want to roll it out and assemble, which is what I did.

Regardless of whether you use all of the short cuts or none of them, these tasty mouthfuls of succulent beef and mushrooms with spicy, peppery sauce and tangy, creamy goat cheese are totally worth the investment.

Short Rib and Goat Cheese Empanadas

Empanada Dough:

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup cold water

1 whole egg

1 egg white

1 tsp. vinegar

1/4 cup shortening

Lightly whisk together water, egg, egg white, and vinegar.  Set aside.

Add flour to a food processor.  A little bit at a time, while pulsing, add shortening.  If necessary, add more shortening or flour to get a crumbly, moist consistency.

With machine running, slowly pour in egg and water mixture until dough just forms.

Remove from food processor and knead until dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to 24 hours.

Short Rib and Goat Cheese Filling:

3-4 leftover beef short ribs, shredded (for example, beet braised beef short ribs – the ones I used were braised in the slow cooker with pinot noir and some Pinot Szechuan sauce)

1/2 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped

1/4 cup Pinot Szechuan sauce (or substitute something like hot barbecue sauce or sriracha or Tabasco)

Mix together all ingredients.

Assembled Pork and Sweet Potato Empanadas:

Makes about 6-8 empanadas

Empanada dough, see above

Short rib filling, see above

1/4 cup goat cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400º

When making empanadas, work with a floured surface and rolling pin.  Roll out dough and, using cookie cutter (or, if you’re like me and don’t have them, a round bowl 6″ in diameter), cut into circles.

Place a heaping tbs. of filling (see above) in the center of the empanada dough.  Add a tbs. or so of goat cheese.  Brush edges with water and fold in half to form a half moon.

Crimp edges on both sides with a fork.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Add empanadas.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

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