Salmon Picnic Empanadas

No matter what the stuffing or style is, love for the empanada is not a difficult one to understand. They are cheap, easy to eat, transportable, and versatile.

Empanadas look as good as they taste; perfect food for a picnic. Eating outdoors, spaced apart is probably one of the safest ways to gather during the ongoing pandemic crisis. The great thing about picnicking is that you can do it practically anywhere you can throw a blanket down. If you can’t make it to a park or field, your yard, porch or any flat surface with a little grass (or sand), some sun (& shade) will do.

Empanadas can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can be served as appetizers or snacks (hot or cold), but they can easily make a full and satisfying main course.

The very basics for an empanada are a combination of three things; dough, filling and a cooking method. The dough can be made from wheat flour, cornmeal, mashed plantains, potatoes, yuca, sweet potatoes etc. and the fillings can consist of meat, fish or vegetables. The cooking method is usually to be baked or fried although some can be cooked on a griddle or grill.

According to food historians, empanadas with seafood filling first appeared in a 1520 cookbook, published during the Moorish invasions.

I was real interested to see what I could do to make some salmon empanadas taste special. We found they were good as a hot meal served with the remaining ‘sauce’ or eaten COLD for a picnic lunch.

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Salmon Picnic Empanadas
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Servings
6 inch EMPANADAS
Servings
6 inch EMPANADAS
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. Do NOT overwork dough.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.
Soy Sauce
  1. In a skillet, melt butter & sprinkle with flour. Allow to cook for a few minutes. In a bowl, whisk together broth, milk & soy sauce. Slowly add to flour/butter mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from skillet & set aside.
Filling
  1. In the skillet, sauté salmon filet in 1 Tbsp oil until JUST cooked. Remove to a dish. With a fork, 'shred' salmon; set aside.
  2. In the skillet, sauté vegetables in remaining Tbsp of oil for a couple of minutes. Add seasonings, shredded salmon, 1/3 cup prepared soy sauce & grated cheddar. Toss to combine; set aside to cool.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Divide chilled pastry into 10 balls. Roll each one in cornmeal. Place a ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap & roll into a 6-inch circle.
  2. Divide filling into 10 portions. Place a portion on one side of the pastry circle, leaving about a 1/2-inch border (on filled side). With your fingertips, moisten edge of pastry with a bit of milk or water. Flip opposite side over filling & press edges together to enclose it well. Use a fork to make the classic look.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Repeat with remaining pastry & filling. Lay empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until pastry is baked & slightly browned.

Beef Stew w/ Cornmeal Dumplings

Dumplings mean different things to different people. Wrap veggies, meat, seafood in dough or just leave them plain …. bake, boil or fry them. Dumplings are what your mother made and that is what you love and consider true comfort food.

The other thing that makes them amazing is that they aren’t necessities …. just pure culinary luxury, there to just enhance the meal.

The dough for most dumplings, has always been based either on cereals such as oats, wheat, corn, etc. or on one of the vegetables from which bread dough can be made from, like potatoes.

Originally made by shaping small portions from a batch of bread dough before specific mixtures were developed. I recall my mother making a big cast iron pan full of dumplings for us on her bread baking day. Its strange how a little ball of dough can evoke such a wonderful memory.

Being a lover of ‘all things corn‘, I decided to make some cornmeal dumplings for our beef stew today. Their still ‘dumplings’, right!!

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Beef Stew w/ Cornmeal Dumplings
Votes: 1
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Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Beef Stew
Cornmeal Dumplings
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Beef Stew
Cornmeal Dumplings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Beef Stew
  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tsp oil. Stir fry beef in 2 batches until browned. Transfer to Dutch oven pot, cover & keep warm.
  2. Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in saucepan, add onion & garlic; cook until tender crisp & browned. Add spices; heat & stir for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add flour & 1/2 cup beef broth to onion mixture; stir for a few minutes to blend. Add beef, remaining broth, carrot, celery & salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover & cook about 30-40 minutes, until beef is tender.
Cornmeal Dumplings
  1. While your stew simmers, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cheese & green onion in a mixing bowl & set aside. In another bowl whisk the yogurt, eggs, oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. When stew meat is tender, combine wet dumpling ingredients with dry ingredients, stirring batter until blended. (If you wish, you can transfer tender stew into individual ramekins or a casserole dish at this point).
  3. Roughly drop scoops of the cornmeal batter onto each filled ramekin (or casserole). Place them onto a baking tray & cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until dumplings test done.

Individual Chicken Pot Pie

The humble pot pie was once the height of culinary style. During the Elizabethan era, these savory pastries — decorated with flowers, fancy designs, etc. were elaborate assertions of the chef’s skill in the royal households of France and England. Among the lower classes, pot pie were popular because the addition of a crust helped feed another mouth or two, while individual pastries, empanadas and perogies were well suited for sale by street vendors as portable meals.

Fortunately, the resurgence in so called ‘retro’ foods has brought pot pies back to the table. There is no reason why they shouldn’t do just as well in the 21st century. To some, chicken pot pie is a staple comfort food. The recipes mix of meat and vegetables in a chicken broth seasoned with herbs, produces a spectrum of flavors that’s like no other.

The trick is getting all the ingredients to the right degree of doneness at the same time. It may be these timing issues that led to the abandonment of the homemade pot pie in favor of the frozen variety. One thing for sure, is that they are definitely worth the time and effort. It makes good sense to make a big recipe, freeze them unbaked (if you choose) and there ready when you need them.


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Individual Chicken Pot Pie

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Lunch, Main Dish

Servings

Course Lunch, Main Dish

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
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Instructions
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add chicken, season with 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink on the outside but not dry, 4-6 minutes. Remove from skillet & set aside.

  2. Decrease heat & add remaining oil. When oil is hot, add onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, dried thyme & savory; stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add margarine & melt.

  3. Stir in the flour & cook for 1-2 minutes; gradually stirring in chicken broth & milk. Bring to a simmer, continue stirring until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in peas, thyme, mustard & reserved chicken. Cover & set aside while preparing pastry.

Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. With a pastry blender, cut in white & yellow Crisco. In a measuring cup, place the egg & vinegar; add enough cold water to make 1 cup & whisk together. Make a well in flour; pour in all of the liquid & combine.

  2. Roll out pastry. For 6 individual pies, prepared in mini foil pot pie pans, cut 6 - 8" (20 cm) circles for the bottom shells & 6 - 5 1/2" (14 cm) circles for the tops. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  3. Place pastry lined pans on a baking sheet & divide chicken filling among them. Moisten edges with milk or water; place pastry circles on top, crimping edges with a fork. Whisk together 1 egg & 1 Tbsp water; brush tops of pot pies with egg wash. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden.


Recipe Notes
  • This amount of pastry will actually make enough for a double recipe of filling or just some extra for another time. If wrapped tightly it will freezes well.