Sunday, December 20, 2009

Empanaditas and Spanish Rice

Many moons ago, Steve won a Chili cook off and as a reward he got a new Mexican cookbook, Chef LaLa Presents Best Loved Mexican Cooking by Laura Diaz-Brown.

Mexican is something that we almost never eat, whether it be going out or making it ourselves. Not because we don't enjoy it, just for some reason it never comes up. Well, we decided to change our dinners up a bit and try something different. We choose to make Empanaditas and Spanish Rice. I have to admit, I was a little wary of following a recipe from someone named Chef LaLa, but I was actually very impressed with the recipe and thought it came out great overall. The only thing I would do different next time is just make regular sized Empanadas instead of mini Empanaditas.
Empanaditas Ingredients for Dough:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup masa harinia (we found something in the Mexican section at Wegmans that seemed to be this, but Steve thinks maybe it wasn't exactly the right thing. Who knows.)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 3tbsp butter
  • Wax or Parchment paper cut into 4x4 squares (12 squares)
  • Flour for dusting
In your food processor, combine flour, masa harinia, and salt. While pulsing add the water. Cut your butter into little pieces and then add to the mixture. Continue to pulse til a dough is formed.

Remove dough from processor and knead once or twice. Then on a floured surface, seperate the dough into 12 equal sections and roll out into a 3 inch circle. Place a piece of waxed paper between each one to prevent sticking. Place them in the fridge for an hour and start preparing your filling.

Ingredients for Filling:
  • 1/2 cup zucchini (we did not use because it's out of season and we couldn't find)
  • 1 pasilla chili (we used a jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded (I was boring and just boiled it, I probably should have baked it or grilled it to give it a better flavor)
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled ( this is basically just a very soft farm cheese, or you could use a mild feta)
  • 1tbsp green onion (we used regular onion)
  • salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp water

As you can see we changed a lot of the ingredients, you really can stuff these with whatever you want. Basically chop up all your veggies and combine all the ingredients in a bowl. We also used red pepper and celery just because we had some on hand.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While that's heating up, assemble your empanaditas. In the center of each dough circle put about 1 tsp of filling.

Wisk together your egg yolks and water and brush that along the edge. Fold the dough and half and seal by pressing a fork down along the edge. Then brush the top with the egg wash ( I accidentally skipped this step, which is why mine don't look as brown as they should).

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, while you are doing all this, set Steve to the task of making some Mexican Rice.

Mexican Rice Ingredients:
  • 8oz canned tomato sauce (Steve actually made the tomato sauce for this)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2tbsp canola oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots (we just used peas cause we happened to already have some)
Steve makes the tomato sauce by squishin up a can of tomatoes and cooking it with some garlic for a while.

In your food processor, combine the tomato sauce, onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup chicken broth and processes til smooth. Don't use your dough blade on accident like I did and then wonder why it's still chunky at the end.

In your skillet heat up your oil over medium heat. Add the rice, then stir occasionally until golden brown. Add the tomato mixture that you blended earlier and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the rest of the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add the peas, then cover, lower the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.



Nutrition for 1 Serving of Rice (makes 6 servings): Calories: 141 Fat: 4.7g Protein: 1g Carbs: 24g

Nutrition for 1 Empanadita: Calories: 105 Fat: 4.1g Protein: 4.2g Carbs: 13.1g