Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Empanada Party

Inspiration can happen anywhere at any time. I was on my way up to Lake Placid and stopped in Saugerties, New York for a quick bite. I came across a cute little cafe called Tango Cafe. It was a typical coffee and pastry shop but with lunch fare and Argentinean influences. Empanadas are one of their specialties. They have been written up numerous times in the local paper and magazines. In one of the articles was their empanada recipe. On my way out, I quickly jotted it down on my iPod. I'd make empanadas and invite people over for a little snack!

The dough was more labor intensive than I thought. I should have started the dough earlier in the day because by the time it was ready for kneading it was near 10 PM! Instead of coming over to eat ready empanadas, my friends had come over to help me cook.

Flattened ball of dough: Only the beginning of a very long empanada process.
The dough could use a few modifications (perhaps more butter?) but here is the basic recipe:

1/2 stick of butter
4 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Mix dry ingredients first and then incorporate the wet ones. Form a ball of dough and wrap it tightly or seal in an airtight container. Let the dough sit for two hours. Once the dough is ready, you knead it out thin. Cut three inch diameter circles for each empanada and scoop filling onto half of that circle. We chose to make our own filling rather than use the ones in Tango Cafe's recipe. You can fill an empanada with anything you like whether it be curried chicken, ground beef and raisins, or potatoes and vegetables. Ours had a Mexican flair and was also a little more traditional with a basic ground beef concoction.

Chicken breast with salsa verde
Ground beef with carrots, potatoes, and onions
Once the fillings had cooled off, we wrapped them in the empanada dough. Some were fancy with a closed edge with design. Others just looked like moons and dumplings. Designs could be made with a pinch of a finger or the prongs of a fork.

This recipe made about 3 dozen empanadas.
Brush with an egg wash and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Midnight labor of determination
Photography Credits: Desmond Chow

Tango Cafe
216 Main Street
Saugerties, NY 12477

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