For this wine tasting event, I will have six different wines, from all over the world. I have fairly well made decisions on the foods to pair with each of these wines.
- Prosecco from Italy will pair with Smoked Salmon Mousse atop a Savory Hazelnut Blue Cheese Wafer
- Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) from France will pair with Individual Chicken Artichoke Cheese Balls atop baguette slice
- Conundrum White blend from California will pair with Chicken and Raisin Samosas
- Pinot Noir from California will pair with Chicken, Pear and Onion Tartlets with Chevre Cream
- Malbec from Argentina will pair with Smoky Beef & Currant Empanadas
- Port from Portugal will be paired with a dark chocolate, still undecided in form.
|Smoky Beef and Currant Empanadas|
Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub
Makes 1 1/3 cups rub mix
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika, preferably Spanish
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika (Pimienta de la Vera)
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder, or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon chipotle powder, optional
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
Mix all ingredients until thoroughly blended. If storing, use an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place away from heat or light.
I had no real empanada dough recipe, so I looked online and found an Argentinian woman's site with recipes for real Argentinian Empanadas and the dough. I am not using the filling recipe in any way, shape or form, but the dough recipe intrigued me. Not a yeast dough, yet kneaded for 10 minutes to build the gluten. I know my way around yeast doughs, but had rarely seen a dough where kneading was so important without yeast. The closest thing to this idea is when making pasta or noodle dough. I had to try it out. The woman's recipe was in Spanish (see her site here), but as I spoke Spanish very fluently for a good 10 years, I had no difficulty with that part. Her measurements were in grams and milliliters, so I weighed and measured it to cups and ounces.
enough for about 40 or more (4 - 5 inch) rounds
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (use an extra 1/4 cup aside if needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons milk
2/3 cup lukewarm water
|Left, sealed edge; Right, folding and crimping|
When ready to work with the dough, I found the dough to be very elastic, which made it easy stretching it over the filling without holes. Roll the dough thinly. Being so elastic, after cutting 5-inch rounds, they shrunk back to about 3-inches. After cutting out all the circles, I rolled each one individually to about 5 inches before filling. Exact roundness is unnecessary. Moisten all around the edge of the dough, place a rounded tablespoon of filling in the center, then stretch the one side over to completely enclose the filling, pressing very firmly to seal.
After sealing, begin folding and crimping the edges, again pressing very firmly, creating an almost braided appearance. I had never done this before, so it wasn't until about my 30th empanada (out of 38) that the folding process began to be remotely even. The empanadas can be baked or fried. I prefer baking. Brush the tops well with one beaten egg. Prick the tops with a knife in 3 or 4 places. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes, until golden and glossy.
Smoky Beef & Currant Empanada Filling
Enough for about 38 empanadas
|Smoky Beef & Currant Empanadas, out of oven|
2 tablespoons bacon fat or other oil
1 1/2 pounds sirloin, cut into very tiny cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced or through a garlic press
3/4 cup currants
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon bacon fat or other oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 can (8-ounces dry weight) mushroom stems and pieces, minced
2 tablespoons Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub, above
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dry the meat well on paper toweling. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the first 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and then the meat. The meat will begin to leach out a lot of liquid. Generally this is to be avoided, but I wanted enough of the liquid to soften the currants later. Sprinkle on the first teaspoon of salt and cook the meat until there is just a little bit of liquid left. Add in the garlic and toss well, then the currants, cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the mixture to a bowl.
Add the tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan with the onions and cook, stirring frequently until the onions begin to look golden, but not browned. Add the finely chopped mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms and onions start to brown. Return the meat mixture to the pan, along with the Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub, smoked paprika and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well to combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool to at least lukewarm.
Fill the empanada wrappers with this mixture; seal, crimp, brush with egg wash, prick with a knife and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
These empanadas came out far better than I even hoped. The flavors are spectacular, and I can easily (in my mind) taste the flavors with a Malbec wine. The use of bacon fat to fry the meat and onions was to incorporate more of the smoke and sausage idea. All the flavors married perfectly. My crimping may be pitiful, but the flavors were precisely right.
My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.