We love eating empanadas all year long, and taking a class from our dear friends Norma and Hutch from The Feasting Place in New Mexico really amped up our culinary creations. Some of our favorite fillings for these buttery pastries are strawberry-chipotle jam, pumpkin pie custard, shredded chicken with red chile and cheddar, or ground spicy sausage with cream cheese and onion jam. This year for Christmas we’re splurging a bit and serving them as an appetizer filled with seared filet mignon, skillet steamed mashed potatoes, chives and a dollop of black truffle butter.
Black truffles are oftentimes referred to as ‘black diamonds’ of the kitchen, so we are always sure to reserve some of this flavorful, uber-mushroom butter for using in other recipes, such as: potato soups, omelets, macaroni and cheese, or a finish for gourmet burgers or baked potatoes. None of this black gold ever goes to waste.
This is a butter-based dough. As you roll it out you want to see the bits of cold butter.
Using cold butter cubes and refrigerating the dough for at least 2 hours before rolling out is best. What you don’t want is for the butter to melt, because the empanadas won’t have that flakey pie crust texture you’re after.
Note: the widely used Crisco shortening empanada dough recipe will also do just fine.
Cutting the dough into 5-inch rounds is the perfect size. And here’s a tip: if you don’t have the right biscuit or cookie cutter, the top of a Crisco lid always does the trick (thanks for that one, Norma!)
The filling is a combination of skillet steamed mashed potatoes, and pan seared filet cut into 1-inch bite sized pieces. You’ll only need to sear the meat, as it will cook and steam as they bake. Fresh chives and a dollop of the truffle butter … they already smell fantastic and haven’t even baked yet!
Once the fillings are in place, fold the pastries over to a half moon shape, wet the edges with a bit of water to act as glue, and then crimp the edges with a fork to seal them tight.
A wash of beaten egg and baked at 400 degrees, they will be a beautiful golden color, a little ‘bumpy’ looking from the meat, and that makes for a lovely homemade rustic empanada. No question that they are made from scratch, with love.
For the sauce, a creme fraiche with fresh chives is a simple mix and the perfect creamy complement. A good quality sour cream will also do fine in place of the creme.
There is no denying, these are very rich. And if you’d like to add a bit of mild Monterey Jack or asadero cheese to the filling that should take it over the top. Also, another cut of meat that works well for this recipe is the flavorful ribeye. And if you are a fan of surf and turf, consider pairing a filet empanada with a perfectly seared scallop and lemon wedge.
Merry Christmas and Buen Provecho!
xo Amy & Mr.D