I learned something about myself today. I learned that I love to eat, and to cook, but I don’t love to make really labor intensive things. In fact, I HATE it. Today’s cooking escapade came about when Sue said I had to make something fancy this week, because my last post was about pizza. So, I decided to make Argentinian empanadas, which are something I’ve never made before. I found a recipe for these, and decided on the spot to make them because it involved making my own dough, which I absolutely qualify as fancy. Also- last year I made pasties with flank steak, caramelized onions, blue cheese and raspberry jam in them, and they were DELICIOUS.
Anyway, I did what I always do, which is find a recipe I like, then look at a bunch more recipes and integrate them into something I think would be better. This works for me, because, and I mean this in the most modest way possible, I am good at flavors, as evidenced by how good the filling turned out. This recipe taught me that I am not good at making dough, however, as evidenced by how mediocre the shells turned out. I kind of made up a dough recipe, which was fine for the recipe itself, but I certainly overworked it, and while it wasn’t tough, exactly, it was a lot more like a firm cracker than I expected. Pretty, but not so good. That’s why I’m going to only give you the recipe for the filling, and tell you to either wait for Sue to post her pie crust recipe or buy a pie crust at the store and use it to either cut out circles and make traditional empanadas (a lot of work, in my opinion) or make a regular pie in a pie plate, with a bottom and a top (do this). I made actual empanadas, even though by the end I felt inclined to throw it all in a big pie, because Linda was in the kitchen talking to me while I was cooking, and she convinced me that I should make them properly. Here’s the recipe for the filling I made up, and for the avocado cream I concocted that Sue suggested for a dipping sauce, which was really tasty.
5 chicken thighs
a cup or so of white wine
a cup or so of chicken stock
a really, really big onion, or two regular non-mutant onions, chopped
a red bell pepper, chopped
6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
about 2 cups of hearty greens, I used mustard and collard greens, kale would be good
1 cup of tomatoes, chopped, I used grape tomatoes
handful of chopped green olives
2 tsp or so smoked paprika
2 tsp or so cumin
2 tsp or so oregano
a healthy pinch of chipotle powder
1 tsp coriander
healthy amounts of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
liberal amounts of olive oil
Get out your dutch oven, and turn your actual oven to 350 degrees. Turn the dutch oven on medium to high heat on the stove, and splash some olive oil into it. Liberally coat your chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and put them into the pan, letting the first side brown, about 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper, and flip them, letting the other side cook for 5-6 minutes. At that point, splash a glug of white wine into the pot and put enough chicken stock in the pot to cover the chicken thighs (incidentally, I use the kind of bullion you keep in a jar in the fridge, and mix into hot water when you want to use it, it’s genius, buy some immediately), put the lid on the pot, and put it in the oven for a good, solid hour.
While that happens, get out the biggest pan you own, splash some olive oil in it, then put all your onions, garlic, red pepper and tomato into it. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and let it caramelize on medium heat for awhile, maybe 15 or so minutes. At that point, splash in some white wine, and pile on your spices, the cumin, oregano, coriander, chipotle powder and probably more salt and pepper, and the olives. Let that cook down for as long as it takes for the chicken to be done.
After an hour or so, fish out the chicken with some tongs and chop it up. “Shred” it, is what a recipe would tell you. Add that to the pan with veggies, and put some of the braising liquid from the chicken in it- maybe 2/3 of a cup or so, however much you think looks good. You want it to be saucy, but not runny. Then put the greens in, and let it all cook together for a few minutes, or until the greens are wilted. When it’s wilted, and not too saucy (if they are too saucy, just let it cook longer, the liquid will cook off and it won’t hurt anything) put the whole mass in your dough-lined pie plate.
Because you are a reasonable person, and you didn’t do the individual empanadas thing. Sidenote- if you do make empanadas, you’ll want a helper, and Linda is taken.
In pie or individual empanada form, I would say bake it on 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, and coat whatever cooking implement (cookie sheet, pie plate) you use with butter prior to baking.
half an avocado
1/3 cup sour cream
juice of one lime
handful of cilantro, chopped
dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper, then some more salt
And here they are:
The lesson here is: I know what I’m good at, and it isn’t anything involving making my own dough. If you’re better at making dough than I am, and that wouldn’t take much, please feel free to make some with this delicious filling.