>> Monday, October 26, 2009
A big thanks to Meatless Monday for featuring my pumpkin muffin recipe this week! They've got a day's worth of pumpkin recipes for you to try this week in honor of Halloween. Using their recipes, you can have pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! I plan to put a little twist on my pumpkin muffins and turn them into pumpkin cupcakes for my son's class Halloween party by adding some vanilla frosting and a few decorations. I think that they'll love them!
I love going to our local Farmer's Market. It's always such a short-lived treat - good live music, delicious fresh produce, and fantastic food. This year there was a wonderful addition to the Farmer's Market scene - a group of Latina women serving "Authentic Latin Food." (If you're in the Jackson, WY area, they cater under the name A Fuego Lento.) I'm drooling a bit just thinking about their food - tortas, tamales (and we're usually not fans of tamales, but these were yummy), salsas, some dishes I can't quite remember, and empanadas...always empanadas. My kids and I struck up a love affair with their empanadas and bought some to munch on every week.
Our favorite empanada had a corn and cheese filling. Simple, but so good. A couple of weeks ago my stomach was growling for some of these delicious little hand pies, and I discovered thanks to Google and Google Translator that Empanadas with Corn and Cheese are actually a very traditional dish in the Latin community. And, even better, they're easy to make!
There are lots of different recipes for Empanadas de Choclo y Queso, but it seems that most have these basic components - white sauce, sweet corn (fresh preferably, but canned or frozen work in a pinch), cheese, and empanada shells. I bought my empanada shells (Goya brand in the freezer section), but the dough looks easy enough to make (see a couple of different recipes here and here). Empanadas are traditionally deep fried, but I opted to bake mine instead.
We all loved my homemade Empanades with Corn and Cheese. My son actually packed two for his school lunch today. I added some green chiles to a third of the batter for the adults, and it was a good addition, but not necessary. We served our empanadas with Mexican rice and black beans. Empanadas come in every flavor under the sun - meat filled, spinach and cheese filled, etc. - so, as always, take this recipe and make it your own!
Empanadas de Choclo y Queso (Corn and Cheese Empanadas)
packaged frozen empanada shells (find in the freezer section)
2 TBSP butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
Lowfat evaporated milk (about 1/2 a can)
2 oz Monterey Jack cheese or cheese of choice
1 green onion, finely chopped
corn - 4-6 ears fresh or 1 can or 1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen (I used a bag of fresh corn that I froze last summer)
1 small can green chiles (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
White Sauce - Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk until your sauce is the desired consistency. Cook for a couple of minutes adding more evaporated milk if necessary. (My sauce at this point was very thick but pourable.)
Add in cheese, green onions, and corn as well as any other optional ingredients. Stir to combine well.
Place a tablespoon or two of corn and cheese filling in the center of an empanada shell. Wet the outer edge of the shell with a little water and press edges together to make a sealed pouch. Place empanada on an oiled baking sheet. Continue until all of your filling and/or empanada shells are used.
Bake at 400 F for 10-15 min or until empanada bottoms are browned. (You can also brush an egg wash over the top of the uncooked shells to brown the tops as well.)
My recipe doesn't quite match that of A Fuego Lento, but I'm very happy with it and will definitely make it again. Next time, I might add a little more evaporated milk to make the final filling creamier, and I might also add a little queso fresco as well. A little cilantro would be a good addition. Or...I might just make it the same again.