Rustic Chicken Empanadas

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Mr MWCED makes a mean pork empanada, however I had borrowed a cook book from the library and saw a chicken empanada recipe and decided that was worth trying.  The book was one of Annabel Langbein’s, love her style, and is virtually the same as her recipe though I have changed some of the measurements.

The other thing that intrigued me was that this recipe uses Kumara (sweet potato) instead of plain old potato.  Now that in itself is worth trying the recipe for,  though to be honest I don’t usually like Kumara but thought that as it is grated the taste will probably be muted.  And so it was.  A good trick to get fussy people (a la me) to mix up their vege intake.

I’ve called these ‘rustic’ because I didn’t take too much care and attention in ensuring that each pastry was nicely folded and crimped.  I was a bit short of time – we were just about to sit down and watch the ABs play Argentina – and who wants to miss any game time!    We found that 2 empanadas each was Plenty.  Making eight means that we have frozen half of them and they can be a meal another time.    And they definitely will be another meal – as they tasted great.

We ate a coleslaw with the empanadas.  It was a mix of green cabbage and some red cabbage leaves from the garden (though they were dark green), and a couple of ‘red’ spring onions which had sprung from the compost.  Oh, don’t you love the magic of compost when it nutures seeds and then throws up wonderful surprises!

Rustic Chicken Empanadas
Serves 4

500g Chicken mince
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato pate
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1 small green pepper, cored and diced
1 medium kumara, peeled and grated
¾ cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
handful of chopped fresh coriander
1 beaten egg, to glaze.

Yoghurt and Olive Oil Pastry
3 cups high-grade white flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup natural yoghurt

Pastry: combine flour and salt and add to bowl of food processor. Add oil and yoghurt to flour and mix until dough forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead 10 or 12 times until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for around 30 minutes. You don’t have to use this immediately, it will keep wrapped in the fridge for a week or can be frozen.

Chicken Filling: heat a large frypan and cook chicken in oil until no longer pink, breaking it up into a fine crumb with the ack of a spoon. Add grlic, tomato paste, cumin, chilli and sugar and cook for 2 minutes. Add green pepper, kumara, water, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until kumara is soft, about 5 minutes. Mixture should not be sloppy, so cook for a bit longer if necessary.   At end of cooking add coriander.

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Chicken mix before adding liquid

Preheat oven to 180C fanbake and line an oven tray with baking paper. Form pastry into a log and divide into 8 evenly sized pieces. Roll each piece out to a circle around 20cm diameter (about the size of a bread and butter plate). Place 2 tablespoons of mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a 1cm pastry rim.

Fold pastry in half to enclose filling and then roll in and crimp edges to seal firmly. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Can be stored in fridge, cooked, for up to 4 days or freeze then thaw and reheat.

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Coleslaw:  No measurements –  just chop finely some green and red cabbage (though as I said earlier my red cabbage leaves were green – go figure).  Add to cabbage a pinch of sugar and salt.  Mix this through cabbage – best with your hands.  Add chopped onion, red pepper and anything else you would like.  I would normally add some grated carrot but we were carrot-less. Throw in some chopped parsley too.  Then make a mayo.  Mine was a mix of cider vinegar (about 1 teaspoon), some sour cream, some mayonnaise and a big dollop of dijonnaise, followed by salt and pepper to taste.

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Roasted Lemon Chicken Thighs & Veg

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Those of you who see most of my posts know that (a) I am mostly a weekend cook; (b) I love recipes that are quick and also one pan and (c) chicken is on the menu OFTEN!

Yesterday was one of those end of winter days; grey, constant drizzling rain, chilly and just generally no fun.  We felt like something simple but warming, and I definitely felt like something simple after spending most of the afternoon snoozing on the couch.

This recipe certainly fits the bill.   I found it on The Woks of Life.  Wow do I love that site.  I have bookmarked so many recipes to try.    Having gone to the supermarket prior to deciding what to cook I also had some vegetables other than just potato, so we also have parsnip and carrot in this dish.     Mostly I purchase skinless & boneless chicken thighs,  however for this recipe skin on, bone-in is much much better.  (Though I resisted the urge and left the skin on the side of the plate!).

Be assured ‘simple’ also means ‘tasty’.   It only takes a few minutes to put together but ends up being a pan of deliciousness and easily translated up or down in terms of catering numbers.  In fact you don’t really need to measure or weigh anything.

Recipe below is enough to feed 2.  I allowed 2 chicken thighs per person (with one leftover so I can have a chicken sandwich the next day).  The recipe this is inspired by allows 1 chicken thigh per person – which might be fine if you have other courses or just want a small amount.  (I’m afraid mostly neither of those things happen in our household).    If cooking for a large number of people you may need to use 2 pans.

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Lemon Chicken Thighs & Veg

ROASTED LEMON CHICKEN THIGHS & VEG

Serving Number:  2

Ingredients
  • 5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • approximately 4 washed potatoes (I left the skin on), cut into 1″ chunks,  one parsnip and one carrot, peeled and cut into smallish chunks.
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled (or however many you want – though probably not a lot more)
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a roasting pan set over two burners at medium high heat.
  2. Sear the chicken skin-side down in the roasting pan. After the chicken thighs have been searing for about 5-7 minutes, flip them over. Add the vegetables and stir them in the oil. Add the lemon slices and garlic cloves, tossing everything together so the vegetables and garlic are well-coated in olive oil.
  3. Transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.   At around 2/3 of the way through you may want to check the dish and pour off some of the juices if it looks like the vegetables are ‘swimming’.   (Don’t know what your experience is, but our chicken seems to have a lot of excess water which comes out in cooking.  Note to self: buy free-range organic chicken.)
  4. Remove from the oven and stir in the herbs. Serve.

We served this with a very simple leafy green salad with some chopped tomato and red capsicum –  sprinkled with raspberry vinegar and balsamic syrup.

Plus – I can’t help it, I love a bit of aioli with potato.   But we didn’t have any and it was 5 minutes until dinner was ready.  So I made the following:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (Mr MWCED and I prefer Best Foods)
1/4 cup Sour Cream
a dollop of pesto
a dollop of dijonaisse
salt & pepper to taste

Mix it all together.  (You could also ‘steal’ a clove or 2 of garlic from your roasting dish – they will be nicely mushy by now – and add – I definitely suggest you consider it).   Don’t be tempted to scoff it all  before you take the dinner out of the oven.

Raspberry, Lemon & Cinnamon Muffins

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Mr MWCED has been asking me for ages when I am going to use up the frozen raspberries in the freezer.  Hmmm, I didn’t really have an answer – we still have PLENTY of berry vinegar so that wasn’t an option.  Go to Google.  Of course!  Muffins.   The lemon cuts the raspberry and sugar, and the cinnamon adds a delightful extra.   These are Very Good.     Be careful when mixing the muffin mix, you want the raspberries to stay as whole as possible.  That way you get lip smacking whole goodness raspberry taste as you bite in.  Yummmm.

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There were quite a few recipes on Google,  I cut and pasted from a couple of them.  Hope you approve of the mix.   Enjoy.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) wholemeal flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
2/3 cup (160 ml) brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
2 tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice PLUS lemon zest from one lemon
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (500 ml) fresh or frozen raspberries

Topping:
1/3 cup (80 ml) brown sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) quick-cooking rolled oats
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C). Butter 12 nonstick muffin pans or line with paper liners.
In a bowl, combine sugar, oats, cinnamon and lemon juice; set aside.   If you want a finer topping then quickly whizz these ingredients in the food processor (I did not do that, but think I will when making this again).

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the food processor, whisk together sugar with lemon zest.   I couldnt find our zester so had to finely chop before putting into the food processor. You just want the lemon zest pieces to be very tiny. Ok, I admit it, I am a very lazy cook!

Add the egg, milk, butter, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and sprinkle with raspberries; stir just until moistened.   Really do only just stir so that all ingredients are mixed. Golden rule with muffins is do not over-mix. Even I know that 🙂

Spoon into prepared muffin pan, smoothing tops; sprinkle evenly with topping. Bake for 25 to 30 min or until tops are firm to the touch.  I found my mixture was quite sloppy so baked them for a wee bit longer, probably about 40-45 minutes – just watch the topping……..

Let cool in pan for 10 min. Transfer to rack to cool. And then spread with cream cheese for a truly sinful morning or afternoon delight.

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