November 3, 2008

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Empanadas

These were absolutely brilliant and utterly satisfying. The mushrooms and squash go very well together, and I think I'll increase the amount of squash the next time I make this (and you know I will!). The pastry was light and crisp and melts-in-your-mouth good, as they should be, what with 2 sticks of butter going into the dough! Luckily they're just time consuming enough that I won't be tempted to make them every week.

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Empanadas
recipe halved and slightly modified from Gourmet

For empanada filling:
1/2 cup diced butternut squash
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs discarded, finely chopped

/2 lb fresh mushrooms (all one kind, not a mixture), trimmed and coarsely chopped

teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable broth

For empanada crust:
Café Azul's pastry dough (recipe below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
coarse sea salt

Cook squash in a small saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes, then drain.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a large skillet over low heat, stirring, until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add jalapeños and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, salt, and broth and simmer, covered, until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in squash and add salt to taste. Cool filling completely.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Divide dough into 7 equal pieces and form each into a ball (that's how many I ended up with, yours might be different). On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a 6- to 7-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Spoon about 1/3 cup filling onto the center and brush the edge of the pastry lightly with egg wash. Fold dough in half to enclose the filling and press the edges together to seal. Crimp edge and transfer empanada to a baking sheet. Make more empanadas until the dough or filling run out.

Lightly brush the empanadas all over with the egg wash and sprinkle each with sea salt. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes

Café Azul's Pastry Dough
recipe halved and slightly modified, from Gourmet

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 egg
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
ice water

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

Beat egg with vinegar in a 1-cup measure, then add enough ice water to measure 1/2 cup total. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until incorporated.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with the heel of your hand just enough to bring the dough together. Form the dough into a rectangle, then fold into thirds like a letter to form a smaller rectangle. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 6 (do not chill longer or dough will discolor).

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