Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greek Empanadas? Bitter Greens Hand Pies?

Could it be fusion? Or, just a borrowed trick?
I started out to make Greek hand pies with an olive oil crust but honestly I just didn't feel like watching something closely enough to pan fry the little pastries. So, I mixed up an olive oil/ butter empanada dough (2 cups flour, 4 TB butter, 2 TB olive oil, and ice water to moisten), for the Greek style filling. I had mustard and turnip greens in the fridge already so I sauteed some minced onion and garlic in olive oil, added in the chopped greens and dried dill (I would have rather used fresh but we didn't have any) and sautéed until wilted, then stirred in some chopped mint and fresh oregano. I let the filling mixture drain in a colander until cool and pressed out any excess liquid. Mixed (in a bowl not the colander) with an egg, S&P, and plenty of crumbled feta cheese, the filling was ready.
When the dough had rested in the fridge for a few hours I rolled it out thin and cut the pastry into approximately 4 inch circles. A hearty dollop of filling went into each one, a little water on the edges and I sealed the little pies the way I'd seen in Argentina (or as close as I could get -- sort of an LA "repulgue"). Brushed with a little melted butter (egg would have been better probably, but I had some spare melted butter) and baked for 30 minutes at 350º. They were a crispy tasty, portable, treat. I should have let the filled empanadas rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking -- they would have been just a bit flakier and crispier. I forgot. But it was already getting late and maybe dinner 30 minutes earlier was good trade for a bit of flake.
On the side, Greek style baked eggplant. Beautiful lavender fruits from our front garden, thickly sliced, covered with home-made tomato sauce and baked for 45 minutes (30 minutes covered) until soft and sweet.

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