From Katie: As a history buff, y’all know I couldn’t just make a recipe like this and not explore the origins of the food. Empanadas turned out to have a fascinating backstory! Empanadas are a really neat food because they come from a long line of regional variations. Essentially, people have been stuffing crispy doughs with yummy fillings for centuries! We believe that empanadas are originally of Middle Eastern or Asian descent, possible coming down to us from samosas (also yummmm). The variations are really cool to look through, but ours are most similar to Argentinian or Peruvian empanadas, mainly due to the fact that they are baked. Truly, though, you could explore the entire culinary world simply through miniature, crusted pies like these. They have different names in many places, but they all have this homey and simple feel to them that is comforting and enticing- plus they are SO conveniently portable!
This empanada filling and sauce is a continuation of my earlier post regarding the empanada dough. This was our favorite combination of empanada sauce and filling that we tried that weekend and I’m also convinced it was the easiest.
The mushroom, shallot, and fontina filling is a slightly sweet and savory filling that is perfectly complimented by the crisp, spiciness of the jalapeño cilantro salsa.
One, half-batch empanada dough
empanada dough disks
1 egg, separated for the wash
Mushroom and Fontina Filling (makes 6-9 empanadas)
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 & 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced and chopped
1 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
Start by chopping your mushrooms and shallots; then add them and the butter to a warm frying pan and cook until tender.
Add roughly two tablespoons of the mushroom and shallot mixture to the center of the dough disk and top with about a tablespoon of cheese (you can start off with smaller amounts of filling to get used to stuffing and creating the empanadas).
Then, lightly brush the egg white on the edges of the disk before you fold it over (this makes for a better seal). Take a fork and press down on the joined edges; flip the empanada and press down on that side. Finally, use the egg yolk to wash over the top of the sealed empanada before putting it in the oven at 375°F for 20-25 minutes.
Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa
1 cup cilantro, packed
2 garlic cloves
2 oz lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
Cut open the jalapeños to remove the seeds and stems before placing them in the food processor. De-stem and wash the cilantro, peel the garlic, and add them to food processor with the jalapeños. Pour in the lime juice and olive oil, and blend all of the ingredients together.