Thursday, January 29, 2015

Empanada Cook-Off Party

This weekend we had our first cook-off of 2015, empandas! As usual, this event was a smashing success and so much fun! 

We had a great group of people here who attended and helped us devour countless empanadas along with many sweet treats! There were seven people competing to take home the empanada cook-off winner title. There were first-timers as well as people returning from past cook-offs. It was a tough field of competitors, as always! 

Our judges were Andrew Lestrougeon, the pastry chef at Hen of the Wood, and Charlie Papillo from WVMT’s Charlie, Ernie and Lisa. They did a great job judging, and all we can say is thank goodness we didn’t have to choose a winner ourselves! Everyone’s empanadas looked and tasted lovely. There were a variety of different filling combinations, from lamb to all vegetarian.  

The runner up was Kendall Black, who was a first time cook-off entrant. She entered a creole-style empanada with shrimp and homemade andouille sausage. 

The winner was Forrest White, who was the runner up from our summer Burger Cook-off. Forrest came back strong with a lamb empanada called el Caballo Blanco. In a fashion only Forrest can, he had a backstory for the name, which is a song by the band Laid Back (who also contributed to the name of his burger cook-off entry), and the empanada itself. Forrest was kind enough to share his winning recipe with us, and said since recipes are best shared that he doesn’t mind sharing it with the CCKS family. 

We are still working on what our summer cook-off will be, so stay tuned for that. And in the meantime, stay warm with some winning empanadas! 

El Caballo Blanco Empanada 

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon jamaican curry
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground lamb
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries; chopped to 1/4”
1/3 cup pickled peppers; chopped to 1/4”
1” ginger piece; peeled and microplaned
2-3 garlic cloves; peeled and microplaned
1/3 cup pistachio; chop in food processor to 1/8” crumbles
1/3 cup cilantro; finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup Stock
1 plantain; par boil, sliced 1/4”, fried in coconut oil w/ pinch of salt, diced into 1/4” cubes

  1. Prep all of the ingredients.  Bring skillet to med-hi with coconut oil.  Add scallions, lamb, peppers, ginger, garlic, cherries, salt & jamaican curry.  Cook while chopping ingredients into each other.  Cook until lamb is lightly browned.  
  2. Drizzle with the honey, and add the pistachio, cilantro, & stock.  Cook for another minute or two to incorporate ingredients.  
  3. Turn off heat, cover and set aside for at least an hour for flavors incorporate. Stir in plantains just before filling dough. 

For the dough:

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar 
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of one large orange
2 tablespoons smoked paprika 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup shortening
1 egg plus 1 yolk
4 tablespoons milk
2/3 cup stock
fresh orange juice for sealing dough 

egg wash; 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tbs water

  1. Whisk milk and eggs together in a bowl and set to the side. 
  2. Combine dry ingredients, including orange zest & paprika in food processor.  Add butter and shortening and pulse until the flour and fat combine.  
  3. Add milk, eggs, vinegar, and 1/2 the stock.  Blend until dough comes together.  Check to see if the rest of the stock is needed, add if necessary.  
  4. Turn dough out on a counter and work together by hand.  Form into a ball, then store tightly wrapped in plastic in refrigerator for at least an hour.  
  5. Roll out to 1/8” thick.  Cut out 2-4” circles (depending on what size you want).  
  6. Add a filing per size of dough, brush edge of dough with orange juice, fold and seal shut.  Prepare empanadas and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before cooking.  Cook at 400 @ 20 minutes. 

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