Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fill Me Up

My sister Lena left this morning so I decided to drown my sadness in the kitchen.  My mission to make something I haven't made before led me on a inspiration search.  As you might have noticed I don't list my recipes here but usually link to a recipe that I use as "inspiration."  I do this for a couple reasons 1.) I rarely like to follow any recipe exactly, I like to put my own healthy twist on it  2.) I'm not really one for measuring  3.) Once I get my mind set on something I want to just go for it, so if I don't have all of the exact ingredients on hand I like to use substitutions  4.) I like to combine different aspects or ingredients from mulitple recipes to make the "perfect" recipe.

While browsing the web these whole wheat empanadas caught my eye and the prepping began!  This recipe calls for frozen prepared pie shells but obviously I wasn't going to take the easy way out on this one.  Most of the dough recipes I found online included the use of lard except for this one, so it was my winner.  The only modification I made was to swap out the unbleached all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.  There was one funny piece of this recipe when the author said to stir the mixture together until "shaggy."  I know what a shaggy dog should look like or a shaggy haircut but a shaggy dough mixture, hmmm.  What do you think, does this look shaggy to you?
While my dough rested I schemed on fillings, yes fillings as in more than one, because I am not that easily satisfied ; )  I definitely wanted to try the filling in the original inspiration recipe because I love potatoes, I love olives, and absolutely love cheese!  After further searching I wanted to do a more "authentic" recipe and most of these included hard boiled egg, olives, and raisins so I went loosely off of this chicken recipe.  I didn't have any green stuffed pimento olives so that was the only ingredient left out.  And lastly I wanted to include a veggie based filling so I went with this spinach and cheese recipe, the only switch I made was fresh spinach instead of frozen.  This is what they looked like before they went inside the dough.

Now that my fillings were complete I was on to the dough, I rolled out and cut the dough into circles using a large cup as my cutter, the recipe called for 5 inch rounds but I think mine were slightly smaller and wouldn't realize the significance of this until later.  Once I started stuffing the pockets I realized they were much smaller than I wanted and could only fit so much filling in each pocket.  In the end this led to a much higher crust to filling ratio than I would have prefered especially since I opted for the whole wheat flour which gave the crust a denser earthier consistency.

I'm not totally happy with the end product, mainly the crust, so I'll have to try these again another time with some variations.

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