Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Adventures with Empanadas

Some of you, especially in our massive fan base in New York, may have heard of Empanada Mama.  When Ben was last in New York, he went to a party that was catered by them.  Most of their food was straightforward, if not tasty, Latino cuisine, but it wasn't until the dessert round that Ben discovered their caramel and cheese empanadas, which were just the best thing ever.*  The host of the party refused to allow anyone to leave until all the empanadas were out of her apartment - Ben was happy to oblige and took as many caramel and cheese empanadas as he could fit into a paper bag.

Crispy, delicious empanadas.
A little while ago, Elizabeth discovered that the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board was celebrating cheese with their blog, whose theme this year was 30 different ways to make macaroni and cheese in 30 days.  First of all, congratulations to the WMMB for a fabulous idea.  Second, there were some pretty awesome recipes featured there (at some point, Ben really wants to try the breakfast mac and cheese).  The recipe that really stuck out, submitted by Always Order Dessert, was the one for guava mac and cheese empanadas.  How could two foods from such different worlds come together in fried doughy goodness?

Was it coincidence that we discovered empanadas we'd like to try months apart?  Ben likes to think it's fate.  Either way, we decided to try our hand at some empanadas of our own.  We had a recipe for the guava mac and cheese empanadas.  We also decided to make some basic shredded beef empanadas, using the filling recipe found here.  And finally, we decided to try to recreate the caramel and cheese empanadas as best as we could.  (For simplicity's sake, we just used the empanada wrapper recipe for the guava mac and cheese empanadas, tripled.)

The guava mac and cheese empanadas were a real winner.  For one, the mac and cheese, made with gruyere, was pretty spot on.  But the combination of guava and mac and cheese worked really well.  Ben used to eat guava paste with queso blanco growing up (because his mom, from Puerto Rico, ate it growing up).  The total package, reminiscent of that except with a flaky crust to boot, was just sublime.

The shredded beef empanadas also turned out well.  We enjoyed these with a bit of guacamole (the remainder of which was annihilated by some friends after a night of drinking), which gave some creamy balance to the salty, savory empanadas.

Sadly, our iteration of the caramel and cheese empanadas was not as successful.  Since we did not have a recipe (we emailed Empanada Mama, but they would only tell him that the cheese used was mozzarella), we had to improvise.  We used a dulce de leche recipe from Alton Brown (Ben's non-mother cooking hero) and added it plus some shredded mozzarella to the empanada shells.  Though all the flavors were definitely there, they just didn't seem to come out right.  We didn't seem to have added enough dulce de leche, but it was hard to add much more without it all escaping before we could seal the empanada.  Maybe it wasn't thick enough.  In any case, we'll try them again soon.

C & D

*That is, until the next time we say the "best thing ever" on this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment