Saturday, June 25, 2011

Filipino Empandas with Aji

When I was younger, a girl's mother down the street from me first introduced me to empanadas. They were Filipino and she loved making large batches of these delicious bites for her family and friends. I loved them so much that even to this day, whenever I hear the word "empanada", I think of the first ones I got to try.
Aji is actually a Colombian sauce that is traditionally served with empanadas of that culture, but I wanted to mix and match, getting flavors from all over. There are no rules when making your own dinner. If it tastes good the eat it!

Flakey empanada pockets filled with spiced potatoes, carrots, peas and raisins, served with a bright green sauce of roasted chilies, cilantro and scallions.

Filipino Empanadas
2 cups AP flour
2 tbl organic cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening, cold and cubed
1/3 cup +/- ice water

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Cut in the shortening until they are pea sized. Slowly drizzle in the water and mix just until combined.
Turn out of a counter top and knead gently to a cohesive dough. Form into a disc, wrap and chill for 20 minutes or while you make the filling.

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
1 medium sized yukon gold, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1/4 tsp dried cloves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbl water

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the onion, potato and carrots. Saute with salt and pepper, cloves and cumin over medium-high heat for 7 minutes until the vegetables just start to become tender. Add the garlic cloves and toast until fragrant, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raisins, peas and broth and reduce the heat to medium. Cook 15 minutes more until all of the vegetables are cooked through and any excess liquid has evaporated. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Combine the cornstarch and water and whisk until smooth.
Roll out the dough into a thin layer. Cut out large circles with a stamp or cookie cutter. Lightly brush the outer edges with cornstarch wash. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling in the center and fold over, sealing edge to edge. Pinch the edges to seal tightly. Brush the outsides with more wash and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

2 individual canned roasted green chilies
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 bunch scallions, green parts only
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbl white vinegar

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth.

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