Saturday, January 17, 2015

Roasted Veggie Empanadas w/ Fresh Tomatillo Sauce

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I am far from a vegetarian, but I do like to plan at least one or two veggie-centric dinners for us every week and this one was a huge hit. The original recipe (I only tweaked it a little) is from one of my all-time favorite food bloggers, so make sure to check out her site over on Annie's Eats. It is the perfect way to get more veggies in your family's diet, not to mention it is idea for little ones who aren't so great with the knife and fork skills yet.

You really can customize the filling with your favorite roasted veggies. This time I went with what the recipe called for (eggplant, mushrooms, etc.), but next time I might swap out the eggplant for butternut squash or add in some carrots. The veggies are all roasted before you fold them into the empanada dough so you don't have to be as concerned with the ones that hold onto water (mushrooms, zucchini, etc.), which opens up so many options!

This empanada dough is going to become a staple in my kitchen, I'm already plotting for a batch made with crock-pot chicken carnitas as a filling, or maybe the super-easy and crowd-pleasing crock-pot pulled pork? My husband is campaigning for dessert fillings so who knows, the possibilities are endless!

This recipe does take a little planning, but the actual recipe is really easy to assemble. You can even make the dough the night before and let it chill in the fridge, just give it about 30 minutes to come a little closer to room temp when you use it, otherwise its like trying to roll out a block of concrete. You can easily roast your veggies while you roll out the dough and cut it into circles, plus these are baked so no messy oil to worry about on the stovetop. Definitely a dinnertime win in our house!

Roasted Veggie Empanadas (with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce)

Ingredients for the Dough
2½ cups AP flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 cup (8 oz.) cold unsalted butter (diced)
2 large eggs
2/3-3/4 cup ice water
2 tbsp. distilled white vinegar

Ingredients for the Filling
1 eggplant (medium-large sized)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped (use whatever kind you like)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 poblano pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for brushing

Ingredients for the Sauce
4 medium-sized tomatillos
1/4 cup cold water
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno (seeded and ribbed) or use the other 1/2 of the poblano instead

Make the dough first by combining the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal and the butter pieces are smaller.

Combine the eggs, vinegar and water in a liquid measuring cup (makes it easier to pour), then as the food processor is running, add the liquid and until a shaggy dough forms. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until it comes together. Separate into 2 discs (will make it easier to roll out later!), wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

To make the filling, preheat the oven to 375. Slice the eggplant into ½-inch thick slices, lay them out in a singer layer on rimmed baking sheets. Brush with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Flip each slice and repeat on the other side. Roast until slightly soft and golden, about 30-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through the baking time. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop.

You can use the same baking sheet for the rest of the veggies, just toss the chopped mushrooms, onion, pepper and garlic with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Roast until just tender, about 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking. Let cool slightly and add to a large bowl, along with the chopped eggplant.

Make the tomatillo sauce by peeling, rinsing and quartering the tomatillos and adding them to a blender along with the water, garlic, pepper and cilantro. Blend until combined and slightly chunky. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To assemble, lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼-inch thick. Cut into rounds with a cookie or biscuit cutter (mine were about 3-4 inch rounds). Place about 2 tbsp. of the filling in the center of each dough round. Fold in half, then press the edges together and crimp together with the tines of a fork. (If your dough is not sealing easily, dip a fingertip in water and brush over one edge of the dough, then seal together. It will help the dough stick.) Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, rerolling dough scraps as needed.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400. Place the shaped empanadas onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Brush lightly with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown and warmed through, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with the fresh tomatillo sauce!

Barely Adapted from Annie's Eats

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