Have you ever looked around your kitchen and but overwhelmed by all the "scraps" left that really don't go together at all but you don't want to waste perfectly good food? I was exactly here staring down the barrel of 1 wilting eggplant, fingerling potatoes threatening to sprout, half an onion, two yellow squash about to lose their luster, and some bits and pieces of chicken breast from 3 meals ago. I was contemplating this cruel mystery box challenge when it hit me - empanadas. You can literally stuff them with anything and they will be delicious. These are pockets of gold for getting rid of leftovers and kitchen scraps.
Ingredients: *Note this is what I used but you can use anything in your kitchen that is the beauty
1 - eggplant (dice - I used my food processor)
1 - onion finely chopped (again food processor)
10 - fingerling potatoes (finely chopped or again handy dandy food processor)
2 - Squash (diced)
Any Protein (cooked and diced)
1-2 TB tomato paste
2 TB butter or oil
Spices (I used salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and paprika but chef's choice)
For Pastry Dough
1 ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
75 Grams unsalted butter, chilled/cubed
¼ Cup warm milk
bit of salt
Dice all vegetables in a food processor or by hand. You want them all to be similar in size so the food processor is your friend here. Heat butter or oil in a Dutch oven or large pan. Sauté onion until translucent. Add other vegetables and Sauté down. Add tomato paste and chicken stock. Season to taste and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until stock has reduced and vegetables are softened. Add your diced protein (cooked) and chill until room temperature or cooler (and be done and kept in a refrigerator)
Prepare pastry dough. In a food processor combine flour, butter, and salt. The butter should be cold and cubed. Run the dry ingredients together in the food processor for a few turns. Combine your warm milk, and egg YOLK ONLY together and whisk to combine. Reserve egg white as you will use it for an egg wash. Add wet ingredients to a food processor and blend a few turns until dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 30-45 minutes up to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F Roll out your chilled dough and use a biscuit cutter or bowl to cut out circles. These can be any size you want as long as the dough is evenly rolled out. You want a relatively thin dough because you are folding it onto itself. Use a spoon or mini scoop to fill the circle. Press the edges together and then use a fork on the edges to seal them shut and create the lined edges. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or a silpat mat. Brush the tops of finished empanadas with reserved egg wash.
Bake at 425°F for 20-25 minutes until tops turn golden brown. Cool and enjoy! I made a quick dipping sauce with Greek yogurt, hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning. I also made a quick chimichurri in my, you guessed it, food processor. The dipping sauce is optional!