For dinner last night we went south* to Latin America to have a meal of empanadas, served along side a dish of quinoa with cilantro, lime and green chilies. Funny story how I got to this particular meal…
I had been thinking about the blog and how song lyrics somehow find their way into many of the posts. Around the same time, Alan Jackson’s song “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” came on the radio, along with its reference to Jimmy Buffet. I guess Jimmy Buffett made me think about margaritas and sailing off to the islands, all of which got me looking for dishes from Latin America. Odd way to plan a meal, but worked for me!
After poking around without a specific dish in mind I happened on a recipe for empanadas and decided to go that route. Along with worrying about the filling, I choose to tackle making the dough for these as well. This was a slight departure for me as I usually just buy prepared dough for things like pie crusts, but wanted to push myself a bit.
As an aside I realize making dough isn’t exactly rocket science and many people do this all the time. For me however this was an evolutionary step, trying something I had not tackled before. In many ways that is what this blog is all about, sharing my experiences trying new things in the hope it might inspire others to do the same.
I went with chicken empanadas, partially to use up some chicken I had in the freezer. This was par-boiled in chicken broth and wine, then shredded and combined with some sautéed onion and garlic. That part was easy. The dough was more work than I expected, and made fewer empanadas than I was expecting to boot. I suspect I didn’t let the butter and cream cheese soften enough before mixing and as such the end result it was a bit dry and hard to work with. That said the crust turned out nice and flaky in the end. I consider it a huge success that Anthony mentioned how good the crust was, so am not too discouraged by my struggles.
The quinoa was a fantastic addition to the meal. The combination of cilantro (which readers now know I have a thing for), lime, green chilies, toasted pepitas and scallions gave this a great flavor. In the recipe I used, the quinoa is first toasted which gives the kitchen a nice aroma. Once that is done you sauté onion, the green chilies and garlic – all of which are scents that get your mouth watering – before adding back in the quinoa and cooking with chicken broth. Nice to have a meal that comes at both your sense of smell and sense of taste!
* While our meal last night might have been from the tropics, our hearts were with all those impacted by the bombing at the Boston Marathon.